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Half of Spain's internet users download illegally

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File photo: US Mission Geneva/Flickr
16:59 CEST+02:00
The Spanish government's bid to crackdown on internet piracy has been dealt another blow with a new report showing more than half of all Spaniards accessed illegal material in 2013.

Eighty-four percent of digital content consumed in Spain is illegal, according to a study published on Wednesday by industry lobby group La Coalición.

The group's Pirate Observatory study also shows that 51 percent of internet users accessed illegal material in 2013.

Films were the most common material accessed with 43 percent of that group saying they had downloaded or viewed pirated films, or the same percentage as in 2012.

Music was next on the list, and then video games.

These downloads cost the public coffers €526.2 million ($725 million) and Spain more than 26,000 jobs, the Pirate Observatory report shows.

La Coalición director Carlota Navarrete said efforts by Spain's Intellectual Property Commission (CIP) to stamp out privacy had seen "few" results.

To date illegal copies of 50 albums, 67 films, 14 book, 21 video games, and four television episodes had been withdrawn from online sites. That's from an estimated 3.2 billion illegal downloads, Navarette said. 

But  the CIP responded by saying pirated content had been removed from 162 websites since March 2012. The government body said the La Coalición was biased and based on "estimates".  

In 2012, Spain introduced new legislation allowing for sites considered to be trading in internet piracy shut down within ten days.

Proposed rule changes in Spain's draft penal code — yet to be approved — could also mean long prison sentences for people running sites linking to 'pirated' material such as films or music on their webpage.

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Market-research firm Nielsen in 2012 estimated some 45% of Spain's internet users visit pages offering links to pirated music and film material on a regular basis.

That's compared to around 25% in the biggest European markets, according to US Billboard magazine.

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