By Ideas Matter

Research carried out by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has found that 97% of EU citizens agree that it is fundamentally important for inventors, creators and performing artists to be able to protect their rights and be paid for their work.

The EU-wide survey questioned 26,555 people aged 15 and older in all EU member countries about their perceptions of intellectual property, updating data found in a 2013 study conducted by EUIPO.

Key findings of this survey include respondents’ clear preference for using legal means to access online content when an affordable option is available. 69% of respondents stated a belief that legal sources for online content are of a better quality than illegal ones, and over half (54%) said that legal sources were more like to offer more diverse content than illegal ones.

The impact on business and jobs was another key factor in people’s perceptions of IP. Based on such considerations, 70% of those surveyed said that nothing can justify the purchase of counterfeit goods.

The survey did indicate, however, a growing confusion about what constitutes a legal source. In this most recent study, 24% of respondents, five percentage points more than in 2013, had had questions about whether an online source was legal - a figure that rose to 41% among young people. Additionally, 10% of respondents said they had been misled when buying products.

The study also revealed that illegal downloading or streaming of copyright material had stayed at roughly the same levels as in 2013.

The Executive Director of EUIPO, António Campinos, said:

“Overall, we see that support for IP rights is high among EU citizens. But we also see that more needs to be done to help young people in particular understand the importance of IP to our economy and society, especially now, when encouraging innovation and creativity is increasingly the focus of economic policy across our European Union.”

For further information, see here for a copy of the full report, and additional details on the EUIPO’s website.