Study Says One in Three Consumers Copy Commercial DVDs

A new research study suggests that commercial DVD piracy by consumers is increasing at a dramatic rate. And perhaps it should be little surprise, but the study was funded by Macrovision, which specializes in protecting digital content.

The report was prepared by Futuresource Consulting, which polled 3,1613 users in the U.S. and 1,718 in the U.K. The report claims that one-third of consumers in the United States and the U.K. copy commercial DVDs, up from one-quarter a year ago.

DVD duplication has decreased in difficulty over the past few years as the number of personal computers with DVD-Recordable drives has exploded. Software exists that enables users to work around the copy protection routinely found on commercially created DVD movies, enabling users to make duplicates.

The report says that 18-24 year old males are the most likely to copy commercial DVDs, using either a DVD recorder or a computer software application to handle the duplication. The report also says that the average number of movies copied in the U.S. was 7 new release and 6 catalog titles; in the U.K. the number is even higher -- 13 new release and 9 catalog.

Most users, according to the study, are making copies of their own purchased DVDs -- but a significant proportion are also copying movies they've rented or borrowed. In the case of new movies, 62 percent of U.S. respondents and 49 percent of U.K. respondents say they copied a new movie they own, while 38 percent of U.S. respondents and 30 percent of U.K. respondents say they've copied a movie they've rented (and about the same say they've copied a movie they've borrowed).

Some consumers may duplicate the DVD to keep the original safe, as in the case of parents who don't want movies popular with their kids to get damaged or destroyed by mishandling them. Other consumers may want to avoid paying the purchase price of a movie they've rented or borrowed.

In either case, Futuresource concluded that DVD revenues are declining, and their research suggests that "the vast majority" of those who admit to copying content said they would purchase at least some of the titles on DVD if they had not been able to copy them so easily. This clearly indicates what Futuresource calls "significant levels of lost revenue due to home copying."

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