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Old 11-07-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
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UK Ofcom report on online copyright infringement tracking

Link

The report came out in September and uses information gathered from March-May 2013. Of particular interest here is the section on ebooks. I've only skimmed it so far so others may find other tidbits, but I found interesting that they estimate 1% of the (presumably UK) internet population download ebooks illegally.

They've also listed where respondents get their ebooks from, which gives the side effect of providing some info on ebook seller market shares in the UK (though I'm not certain exactly how accurate it is since it's respondents versus hard data, and it's not really shares since respondents could choose multiple answers). These estimates also include sites that can be used to acquire ebooks illegally, which give a very interesting view on the situation.

Here are the percentages of respondents who used the top services:

79% - Kindle (Amazon)
9% - ibookstore (Apple)
8% - Google search engine
6% - ebooks.com
6% - Google Play
5% - Email
5% - Kobo (WH Smith)
4% - Facebook
3% - (a particular grey site)
3% - Waterstones
(in grey) 7% - Peer-to-peer (net)
(in grey) 2% - Cyberlockers (net)

The last two are coloured differently presumably as they are conglomerates of various options that can be used for illegal acquisition, so at least 7% who download ebooks use those kind of sites.
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:24 PM   #2
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Data a bit skewed from misunderstandings and limited samples e.g. "3% - (a particular grey site)" names µTorrent in the actual list (don't know why OP didn't list by name) and this is an application for torrenting - it is not a site with illegal downloads - and torrenting is not an illegal action as it has many perfectly legal uses - just because something can be used to facilitate an illegal act doesn't make it illegal in itself... and it sure isn't a torrent site...
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Old 11-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
... they estimate 1% of the (presumably UK) internet population download ebooks illegally.
Frankly, I don't believe that figure. I haven't read the report, so I might be wrong about that. But the figure simply isn't plausible. If they're talking about the entire Internet population of the UK, I doubt if 1% have even read an ebook, much less downloaded one, legally or otherwise. And, of those who have downloaded, I suspect the majority don't know whether they did so legally or not.

I'd also question what sample they used for their research. So many of these studies are based on surveys carried out on-line, from people who happen to visit a certain website. That is not a cross-section of the population. It is a self-selected group that happened to come across the survey and were inclined to respond.

Mike
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
Frankly, I don't believe that figure. I haven't read the report, so I might be wrong about that. But the figure simply isn't plausible. If they're talking about the entire Internet population of the UK, I doubt if 1% have even read an ebook, much less downloaded one, legally or otherwise. And, of those who have downloaded, I suspect the majority don't know whether they did so legally or not.

I'd also question what sample they used for their research. So many of these studies are based on surveys carried out on-line, from people who happen to visit a certain website. That is not a cross-section of the population. It is a self-selected group that happened to come across the survey and were inclined to respond.

Mike
You don't think 630,000 people in the UK have read an ebook?
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
Data a bit skewed from misunderstandings and limited samples e.g. "3% - (a particular grey site)" names µTorrent in the actual list (don't know why OP didn't list by name) and this is an application for torrenting - it is not a site with illegal downloads - and torrenting is not an illegal action as it has many perfectly legal uses - just because something can be used to facilitate an illegal act doesn't make it illegal in itself... and it sure isn't a torrent site...
Yep - and "Google Search Engine" isn't exactly a specific site either!

I also wonder about the definition of "illegal" - are they including sharing a book directly with a family member? Circumventing georestrictions? They don't say.

I can't find anything at all about sampling methodology.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:10 PM   #6
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From the link in the report

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/mar...gement-tracker

The study seeks to provide as comprehensive a dataset as possible. It includes both older children (12-15 year olds) and adults who use the internet less frequently to get a nationally representative sample of UK individuals aged 12+. This requires a very large sample size (4400 individuals), and a hybrid online and face-to-face survey methodology.

"Illegal" was in the view of the respondent - it was free do you think is was illegal.

The questionnaire is online as a PDF.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
You don't think 630,000 people in the UK have read an ebook?
I sometimes suspect that 630,000 people in the UK have never any book.

Mike
P.S. According to the latest figures I saw, the UK Internet population is 52.7 million, not 63 million. But that doesn't really affect my point.
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
Frankly, I don't believe that figure. I haven't read the report, so I might be wrong about that. But the figure simply isn't plausible. If they're talking about the entire Internet population of the UK, I doubt if 1% have even read an ebook, much less downloaded one, legally or otherwise. And, of those who have downloaded, I suspect the majority don't know whether they did so legally or not.

I'd also question what sample they used for their research. So many of these studies are based on surveys carried out on-line, from people who happen to visit a certain website. That is not a cross-section of the population. It is a self-selected group that happened to come across the survey and were inclined to respond.

Mike
It says that 9% of the people who "consume books" (I'm hoping that means read them rather than eat them) do so from unauthorised sources, and that 10% of all ebooks consumed are from unauthorised sources.

Not a vast amount, I don't think, when you compare it with the number of second hand paperbacks that change hands multiple times. Does anyone know what percentage of paperbooks are bought new?

Also ... 57% of the downloaders are ABC1, which is middle to upper class, so it's obviously not being driven by price. It also says downloaders spend more on books than non-downloaders, presumably after finding a new favourite writer by downloading a title free?
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Old 11-08-2013, 05:48 PM   #9
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We used the terms legal and illegal to make them readily comprehensible; we felt that terms such as "lawful/unlawful", "licensed/unlicensed" and “infringing” were too complicated (this was backed up by the cognitive testing we undertook prior to fieldwork).
Being more readily comprehensible doesn't make it more true or accurate.
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Mike L View Post
Frankly, I don't believe that figure. I haven't read the report, so I might be wrong about that. But the figure simply isn't plausible. If they're talking about the entire Internet population of the UK, I doubt if 1% have even read an ebook, much less downloaded one, legally or otherwise. And, of those who have downloaded, I suspect the majority don't know whether they did so legally or not.

I'd also question what sample they used for their research. So many of these studies are based on surveys carried out on-line, from people who happen to visit a certain website. That is not a cross-section of the population. It is a self-selected group that happened to come across the survey and were inclined to respond.

Mike
They do have a footnote indicating that their base is small
Quote:
34 The legal groups are too small to break down further regarding spend.
35 Caution: Low base (58)
I'm surprised that the number is so low.
I was in the UK in 2003 and people seemed to read a lot more than in North America. Of course there were few hand held reading devices then so not the same thing.

I am also amazed that people are paying so much more for music than everything else.
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Those who consumed a mix of legal and illegal music claimed to spend the most on music (£95.31), with ‘100% illegal’ (£27.07) the least. Spend
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Old 11-08-2013, 11:51 PM   #11
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Being more readily comprehensible doesn't make it more true or accurate.
Nothing short of a lie detector test would make it more accurate. I am impressed that they do list most of their assumptions etc. in footnotes.

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Old 11-10-2013, 07:38 PM   #12
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Wow, possibly around 1% of UK internet users have downloaded an e-book without paying for it, eh? Not such a hot ticket item like them pirated video games, huh?
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:55 PM   #13
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Yep - and "Google Search Engine" isn't exactly a specific site either!

I have used google to find e-book libraries. You would be surprised at how many open servers get crawled.
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Old 11-16-2013, 10:49 PM   #14
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I have used google to find e-book libraries. You would be surprised at how many open servers get crawled.
Sure, but it's a search engine, not a site you download books from. It finds legal and illegal sources of every variety.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:32 AM   #15
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The Google search engine is a specific site even though it doesn't provide ebooks itself. It fits the purpose of the research because they wanted to know how people go about finding ebooks to download regardless. 8% use the Google search engine first and then follow a link to somewhere else to access the ebook, and those people that use the Google search engine presumably answered it and the site/s they actually accessed the ebook from.
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