Australian Online Piracy Survey

Posted on 11/2/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

For the last four years the Australian Government has published an annual "Consumer Survey on online copyright infringement". The 103 page report focuses on the unlicensed use of Music, Video Games, Movies, TV, e-Books and PC software. Unfortunately, it does not deal the unlicensed use of photographs.

However, buried in the report are some trends that could offer hope for stock photography.
“When considering the data as a whole, the increasing trend continues for consumers to pay for some of their digital content while the consumption of 100% free content continues to decline.”

Of the 2,453 survey respondents 49% said that the reason they use paid services, is that it is “easier and quicker.” Unfortunately, the stock photo industry is headed in exactly the opposite direction. By doing away with editing and curation and loading up our sites with redundant and poor quality images we often make it harder for the consumer to find what they really need quickly and easily.

In addition, 36% of responses said the paid content is “of better quality” and 34% said “I don’t want to use sites providing unlawful content.” For these user that stock agency site that license rights to the images they offer still have the upper hand.

Agency content, even with poor curation, is still probably of better quality than what can be found on Free sites, and thus the Free sites may not be likely to take a significant share of the market. It is interesting that at least one-third of the users want to be honest and do the right thing if content creators would only help them do so.

However, there is strong suspicion that when it comes to the unauthorized uses of the professionally produced images consumers are not grabbing the images they need from free sites, or directly from stock agency sites. Instead, they either find image on a site like Facebook or Pinterest where the photographer posted the image, or on a site where the first user probably paid to use the images.

When a potential user finds the image on one of these other sites, they have no way to determine who created the image, and if it does require licensing where to go to obtain a license. That’s why need something like the Image Creator Locator to make it easy and quick to determine (1) if use of the image requires licensing and (2) where to go to get such a license.

One of the questions the Australians asked was, “What would make infringers stop? Of the respondents 26% said, “If lawful services were cheaper” and 23% said, “If it was clearer what is lawful and what isn’t lawful.”

It is hard to imagine that prices of $1.00 or less are two expensive, so it seems that the big problem for many, at least in Australia, is that it is not clear what is or isn’t lawful. This is certainly true of virtually all photographs found on the Internet, unless they are found on a stock agency site.

In Australia the “Proportion of all Internet users 12+ who paid something to consume digital content” rose from 22% in 2015 to 39% in 2018 for Music, 12% to 31% for Movies and 9% in to 26% for TV. That is certainly a very promising trend. People are beginning to realize that they need to pay something for what they want to use.

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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