An understanding of copyright law is not enough to stop kids from downloading copyrighted software, games, music and other digital media through illegal, online file-sharing networks, according to a new Harris Interactive poll conducted for the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
A majority of youth are aware that digital media files are copyrighted (91 percent of young people are aware that books are copyrighted; 88 percent, movies; 88 percent, music; 86 percent, software; 83 percent, games and 64 percent, Web sites), yet many of them admit to downloading files anyway. Just over half say they download music (53 percent) and a third download games (32 percent), while fewer kids say they download larger digital files such as commercial software (22 percent) and movies (17 percent).
"Unfortunately, many kids and teens continue to download copyrighted works illegally even though more than half of them think there are laws against downloading digital works," said Diane Smiroldo, vice president of public affairs for BSA.
"What's most alarming is that eight out of 10 kids and teens understand the definition of copyright and nearly all of them, especially teens, are aware that software, music and movies are protected by copyright. The fact that kids know stealing software is wrong, and yet they behave like it's okay, clearly illustrates a challenging ethical dilemma."