In common with most major countries around the world, Russia has problems with piracy, a situation its government is constantly trying to address.
In an effort to deter citizens from using illicit sources, Russia has already developed one of the most aggressive site-blocking regimes anywhere in the world. Thousands of sites are blocked by ISPs on copyright grounds, some permanently
Right now, it is also working on further legislative amendments that will compel search engines to query online databases to ensure that links to allegedly-infringing content are removed from indexes in a matter of minutes.
But while all of that plays out, a new survey carried out by security company ESET suggests that the problem is unusually deep-seated, with just a fraction of respondents stating that they always obtain content from licensed sources.
The study was carried out in September among 2,000 people who were asked, among other things, what type of content they pirate most often. ESET says that many users highlighted more than one type of content but there was a clear leader.
52% of respondents said that ‘cracked’ games are their content of choice, closely followed by 43% who obtain movies and TV shows from unlicensed sources. Just over a third (34%) say they prefer to listen to music from illegal platforms rather than their legal equivalents.
While ‘pirate’ eBook and similar sites have been the subject of several lawsuits in Russia to date, only 14% said that they obtain content from these services. Just under a fifth (19%) of respondents say they install ‘cracked’ software. Perhaps predictably, ESET points out that since malware can come with such releases, its products can come in handy.
Overall, just 9% of all respondents in the study admit to obtaining content exclusively from licensed sources, a pretty measly figure. However, the information released by ESET doesn’t reveal how many of the 91% are ‘dual buyers’, an omission that could prove crucial.
People who pirate content but also obtain some content from licensed sources have been an important factor in more detailed studies carried out elsewhere. These people are regularly viewed as potential converts to 100% legal consumption in the future while offering some hope that the piracy puzzle can be solved in time.
But of course, people in Russia have their own reasons to pirate and it’s the old boogeyman at the top of the list – cost. According to ESET, 75% of respondents said that high prices are the reason to pirate, with just over a third (34%) stating that legal services fall short of their requirements.
Interestingly, ESET says that 25% refuse to pay for licensed content on “ideological” grounds, although it doesn’t elaborate on what they might be. That’s followed up by 16% who say they prefer pirate content because payment systems utilized by legal providers are “inconvenient”.
Finally, while ESET Russia encourages people to comply with relevant anti-piracy laws, it predictably gets in a plug for its own products. Nothing that unlicensed products and ‘cracked’ games can sometimes come with unwanted extras, the company suggests using its anti-virus solutions to combat the threat.
Given the results of the study, there’s plenty of scope for sales, if the company can get anyone to pay.