An survey carried out by UMR Research revealed that watching pornography online is considered far more morally acceptable than downloading music and films illegitimately via file sharing networks.
The survey, which TorrentFreak
reveals as being carried out across 1,000 New Zealanders, reveals that 41 percent of respondents believed it was morally acceptable to watch pornography on the Internet - which contrasts with just 18 percent who can live with the guilt of downloading copyright music without paying for it on their conscience.
An even smaller group, at just 13 percent, believed that it was acceptable to download a film illegally - significantly lower than the 18 percent which believed it was fine to both watch pornography and hide their activities from their spouse or partner, lying if necessary to keep their secret safe.
While the results of the survey - which, granted, uses far too small a sample size to guarantee any kind of statistical accuracy - show that the vast majority questioned are willing to keep on the right side of the copyright lobbies, an interesting figure to come out of the research is the difference between downloading
content and streaming
content: while just 13 percent of respondents felt OK with downloading a copyright TV show, 31 percent didn't see anything wrong with streaming the same copyright content via a site like YouTube.
While file sharing is getting attention from both lobby groups and the government
at the moment, streaming is something which is less profitable to police: although organisations such as the RIAA and MPAA can fight to have copyright content removed from video streaming services like YouTube, they fight a target with much bigger pockets and a stronger reason to see their case heard in court than if they pursue individuals for sharing content on peer-to-peer networks. Whether the lack of legal action against such streaming sites - and associated press coverage - is responsible for the gulf between 'downloading' and 'streaming' the self-same infringing content isn't known, but is certainly something that those fighting for copyright holders' rights should be looking into.
Do consider downloading copyright content without permission morally acceptable, or are you just surprised to see so many of those surveyed willing to admit to a bit of midnight grot browsing? Share your thoughts over in the forums