Gender Differences

Gender differences in our broadest measures of participation in copy culture in the US and Germany are, for the most part, minimal—within the margin of error of the survey. Nor are there significant differences in attitudes toward copying and sharing.

Yet differences do emerge in some narrower practices—especially in Germany. Two percent of female Internet users there said they give copies of video files to family and friends, whereas 12% of male Internet users said they do so. Men are also three times as active in P2P networks.

Copy Culture (US & Germany, Men & Women, Among Internet Users)

P2P And Sharing Practices (US & Germany, Men & Women, Among Internet Users)

Race/Ethnicity In The US

Race/ethnicity plays a relatively strong role in differentiating attitudes and practices toward copying and infringement in the US. (We did not track these categories in the German survey.) With respect to attitudes, tolerance of copying and sharing of all kinds is generally highest among Hispanics, with white and black respondents trailing and roughly equal within the margin of error.

With regard to copying and downloading practices, black and Hispanic respondents lead white respondents by significant and relatively consistent margins. Copy culture is more prevalent in black and Hispanic communities.

Our P2P file-sharing question generated the largest differences. Narrower practices (use of private trackers and seeding) produced no significant differences.

Nor did income prove to be a significant differentiator between the groups.

Age proved to be a significant differentiator, but here the differences emerged among older respondents, not younger ones.

Among 18- to 29-year-olds, black, white, and Hispanic participation in copy culture is very similar—comprising 66%–69% of Internet users, according to our broadest copy culture metric. Black and Hispanic communities have higher overall levels of participation in copy culture because these practices are more prevalent among older members of the community. Our data does not provide much insight into this divergence, but we think it likely reflects the longer-term persistence of an informal media economy in these communities, rooted in issues of cost and lower availability of legal services (such as the scarcity of movie theatres in minority-dominated neighborhoods). Among Hispanics, these factors are likely strengthened by the importance of Spanish-language media, which has also had fewer legal means of distribution.

Music Files: Is It Reasonable To… (US, By Ethnicity/Race, Among Those Who Have Music Files)

Copy Culture (US, By Ethnicity/Race, Among Internet Users)

P2P And Sharing Practices (US, By Ethnicity/Race, Among Internet Users)

Has Copied Music/Video Files, DVDs or CDs, or Has Downloaded Them For Free (US, By Ethnicity/Race, Among Internet Users)

  • US, 2012: NPD’s Annual Music Study (NPD 2012) found that 14% of Internet users had downloaded at least one song file illegally. Among black respondents, 20% had.

End-User Licenses

For many digital goods and services, copyright is subordinated to contract, such as the now ubiquitous click-through or end-user license agreements (EULAs) used for software. In the US EULAs have generally been found to supersede copyright law and—in particular—allow companies to dictate terms of use that reject the “balance” between rights holders and users present in copyright. In Germany the permissible scope of EULAs is highly contested, and EULAs have been repeatedly invalidated for infringing on guaranteed rights in copyright law and other civil provisions (Kreutzer, 2006).

The well-known opacity of EULAs is a particular problem in this regard. Can contracts be legitimate when they are unintelligible and rarely read? Common sense would say no. And so we asked two questions:

  1. Have you ever read an end-user license? Thirty-seven percent of Americans and 30% of Germans said yes.
  2. Did you feel you adequately understood the end-user license? Twenty-three percent of Americans and 15% of Germans said yes.

Who reads EULAs? In the US, there are two main factors: the likelihood of reading a EULA increases with age, but the likelihood of installing software (and therefore encountering a EULA) drops with age. 80% of those under 30 have installed software. Among those over 64, only 41% have. So in terms of raw numbers, the middle-aged are the most frequent readers. In Germany, the same trends apply but middle-aged Germans appear comparatively complacent about their EULAs—perhaps because the cases that have attracted attention in Germany have involved video games.

Who Reads EULAs? (US and Germany)

Who Reads EULAs? (US and Germany, By Age)

[For more, see Reading Eulas: Not Just for the Crazy Anymore]