Teens Not Aware Of Downloading Laws

    February 13, 2008

Nearly half of teenagers (49%) said they are not familiar with the rules for downloading images, literature, music, movies and software from the Internet a new Microsoft survey says.

Only 11 percent of teens said they knew the laws "very well".  The majority (82%) of those who were familiar with the law said illegal downloaders should be punished. In contrast just over half (57%) who were unfamiliar with the laws said violators should be punished.

In general, teens view illegal downloading over the Internet as less serious than other forms of stealing. Less than half (48%) said punishment was appropriate for illegal downloading, but 90 percent said punishment was appropriate for stealing a bike.

Teens said their parents are their main source of information about what they can do online followed by TV, magazines, newspapers and Web sites.

Among teens who download content online, boys are more likely than girls to say they would not continue after being told the rules to download content over the Internet without paying for it or receiving the owner’s permission (76 % vs. 68% respectively).

"Widespread access to the Internet has amplified the issue of intellectual property rights among children and teens," said Sherri Erickson, global manager, Genuine Software Initiative for Microsoft.

"This survey provides more insight into the disparity between IP awareness and young people today and highlights the opportunity for schools to help
prepare their students to be good online citizens."