I’ve posted here about the challenges of talking to teens about illegal downloading (especially if you do it yourself as a parent). I also posted a while back about the “Internet Illiterate parent” who was let off the hook for being clueless that her teens could even download music illegally. It seems that the perils of illegal downloading (computer viruses and spyware, RIAA lawsuits) as well as parents beginning to set rules about this with teens is slowly beginning to have an effect. According to new research from Harris Interactive & The Business Software Alliance:
Illegal downloading of digital copyrighted works by youth (ages 8 to 18) has dropped by 24 percent in the last three years.
Getting a virus continues to be the top worry youths have about downloading software, music, movies and games without paying, but fear of getting in trouble with parents increased to 48% from 40% in 2006.
-62% are concerned about downloading a computer virus
-52% fear getting into legal trouble
-51% fear downloading spyware
-48% worry about getting in trouble with parents.
The research also showed (not surprisingly) that when parents have rules about internet use, it makes a difference in teen behavior. So 47 percent of tweens and teens ages 8-18 download music without paying a download fee vs. only 16% when parents have set rules about illegal downloading.
With iTunes and Amazon pushing for music to be DRM-free (DRM stands for digital rights management so the songs would essentially be able to be copied and passed along once a person buys them on iTunes or Amazon), I think it’s going to be even harder to stop the spread of “free” music.
On a somewhat related note, check out this mashup of Disney characters explaining current copyright law and its limitations. Kind of funny.