Kids Don’t Care About Copyright

The results of the latest U.K. Music survey into how young people get hold of music shows they have scant regard for copyright . They just want to get it for free.

Research carried out in the spring by the University Of Hertfordshire showed 87 percent of 1,800 18- to 24-year-olds interviewed said “copying between devices is important to them.”

Tellingly, for the record companies and the artists, 61 percent admitted to downloading music through illegal free sites, 86 percent owned up to copying CDs for friends and 75 percent said they’ve sent music by e-mail, Bluetooth, Skype, MSN or other methods.

The survey results published August 10 concluded that young people have an inherent sense of what copyright law is, but choose to ignore it. It said the vast majority of respondents knew that sharing copyrighted content is not legal, yet continued to do so.

“Have they got the message that there is a thing called copyright and there is a philosophy of copyright? Yup. They get it. They just don’t care,” former Undertones singer and U.K. Music chief exec Feargal Sharkey told the Guardian.

The survey also showed the home computer is the youngsters’ main music portal, with 68 percent of the interviewees saying they play music on it every day. It found the average hard drive contains 8,159 tracks, which is about 17 full days of music.

“What they’re quite clearly trying to explain to us at the minute is that we can get it for free and we’re not going to get caught,” Sharkey explained.

He described his organisation’s annual survey as a “snapshot” of how young people regard music, and has admitted to fearing the day when musicians wanting to create new music won’t be able to do so without having to live in poverty in the process.

The bright spot for Sharkey and U.K. Music, the umbrella body that represents the British music business and commissions the annual research, is that 85 percent said they’d be prepared to sign up to an MP3 download service that would allow them to get as much music as they wanted for a fixed fee.

More than half of them said it would stop them file-sharing illegally and more than three-quarters claimed they’d still buy CDs.

Sharkey called for the industry to “step up to the plate” and provide the sort of “all-you-can-eat download service” the kids say they’re prepared to pay for.