TORONTO — Most Americans regard the illegal downloading and distributing of Hollywood movies as something on par with minor parking offenses, according to a report issued Wednesday.
Only 40 percent of Americans polled by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group agreed that downloading copyrighted movies on the Internet was a "very serious offense."
That compares with the 78 percent who said shoplifting a DVD from the local video store was a very serious offense.
"There is a Robin Hood effect," said Kaan Yigit, study director at Solutions Research Group. "Most people perceive celebrities and studios to be rich already and as a result don’t think of movie downloading as a big deal.”
The survey found that 59 percent of Americans polled considered "parking in a fire lane" a more serious offense than movie downloading.
Yigit said that existing download-to-own movie services and new market entrants will need to be more flexible in first-run and catalog content offerings and pricing if they want to convince consumers to pay copyright holders for product.
“Otherwise file-sharing will continue to thrive,” he said.
The Digital Life America survey polled about 2,600 Americans between June and late September.
Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter