World Anti-Piracy Observatory

Causes of Piracy

    The piracy phenomenon stems from social, economic and legal backgrounds. Causes include:

    • Low level of public awareness

    Piracy lacks the negative social stigma that would make the public realise that it is a criminal activity. The public often does not realise that by purchasing pirated products or engaging in infringing activities, it may contribute to the spread of unlawful practices.

    • High consumer demand for cultural products

    The social demand for music, films, books and software is very high, which may induce the development of an illegal market to cater to the needs of consumers.

    • Misconceptions about piracy

    The public often views piracy as a means of having access to cheaper, just-as-good versions of works, ignoring the effects that piracy has on creativity, creative industries and related sectors.

    • Inefficient intellectual property protection and weak enforcement of rights

    Poorly drafted or incomplete laws, and weak enforcement thereof, directly contribute to the increase of piracy.

    • High cost of cultural goods

    Cultural goods are expensive to create, produce, and distribute, and the multiple costs that arise before the product reaches the consumer  add up to make the final product expensive. Consequently, poverty is identified as an important factor contributing to the spread of piracy. As the prices for genuine products are often too high for people to purchase, there is a constant market for counterfeit, cheaper goods.

    • Difficulty of access to legitimate works

    Supplies of legitimate products in stores and libraries are often insufficient, particularly in developing countries. Technical protection measures in digital format products are also viewed as hindering the access to certain copies and, therefore, as limiting  the availability of legitimate works to the general public.

    • Considerable business profits for pirates

    Pirates do not incur any of the costs related to the production of original cultural goods due to limited up-front investment needed for illegal reproduction and distribution. Hence, the perspective of making huge and easy profits is another reason for the spread and persistence of piracy.