Most users of illegal online file-sharing networks continue to download copyrighted software, games, music and other digital media despite being aware that it is against the law, according to recent research.
A Harris Interactive poll of 1,100 P2P users aged eight to 18 found that 88 per cent are aware that digital music is copyrighted, but many of them admit to downloading files anyway. Some 53 per cent download music, and 32 per cent download games.
The opinion poll, conducted for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), found that fewer young people say they download larger digital files such as commercial software (22 per cent) and movies (17 per cent).
"Unfortunately, many kids and teens continue to download copyrighted works illegally even though more than half think there are laws against downloading digital works," said Diane Smiroldo, vice president of public affairs at the BSA, in a statement.
"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 behave like it's OK, clearly illustrates a challenging ethical dilemma."
The study also found that children and teenagers are more worried about technological problems while downloading digital media than they are about the ethics of stealing.
When illegally downloading, respondents were found to worry more about accidentally downloading a computer virus (60 per cent) than they do about whether they can get in trouble with the law (50 per cent) or accidentally downloading spyware (43 per cent).
Only 29 per cent worry that the act is wrong.
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