New EUIPO study on online piracy “Online Copyright Infringement in the EU, Films, Music, Publications, Software and TV, 2017 – 2022”

A recently published study by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) provides new data on online piracy in EU Member States. According to the new data, online piracy increased by 3.3% in 2022. This increase is largely due to pirated TV shows, series, movies and manga publications.

The study shows that online piracy, as measured by the number of monthly accesses per internet user to illegal content, gradually declined until 2021, when the trend reversed.

Pirated content: What Europeans consume

This change in trend is mainly due to an increase in pirated TV content, which accounts for almost half (48%) of all accesses to illegal websites in the EU in 2022. Other types of pirated content include publications (28%), films (11%), software (7%) and music (6%).

Pirated TV content shows an increase of 15% in 2022. The most popular genres are TV shows and series and movies on demand, followed by anime productions (series and movies) and live streams of sports events and special sports channels.

Illegal access to publications, the second most important source of piracy after TV, has also increased since January 2021, with manga comics being the leading genre in this category, followed at some distance by audio books and e-books.

Despite a significant decrease in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, movie piracy increased slightly in 2021 and 2022 with the majority of pirated movies being Hollywood blockbusters.

Software piracy, such as games and software for mobile devices, is also slowly increasing, albeit at a slower rate. While all categories saw an increase in 2022, music piracy has declined and remains low.

On average, each internet user in the EU accessed websites offering infringing content around 10 times a month at the end of 2022. It should be noted here that there is considerable variation between EU Member States. The countries that occupy the top positions with the highest piracy rates are Estonia and Latvia with almost 25 illegal accesses per user per month, while the last positions with the lowest piracy rates are Germany, Italy and Poland with around 7.5 accesses per user per month.

Greece ranks 21st with an average of 10 illegal accesses per user per month. More specifically, Greece ranks 23rd among the 27 Member States in terms of TV piracy and well below the EU average. Greece ranks 3rd among the Member States in the piracy of films, occupying the same position in the category of live sports broadcasts. Greece ranks 13th in music piracy and 16th in publishing piracy, as well as in software piracy.

The rise of live sports events and streaming

According to the study, streaming has become the most popular method of accessing illegal TV content. 58% of online piracy in the EU takes place via streaming and 32% via download.

The study also analyses, for the first time, illegal access to live sports events. This type of piracy shows an upward trend in 2021 and 2022, with a 30% increase in a single year. Furthermore, piracy of live events shows high rates in April and September-October, while low rates in June-July each year, reflecting the active periods and summer holidays of the main European football leagues.

Among the factors that could influence the consumption of pirated content within the EU, the study points out that economic and social factors such as GDP per capita, income inequality or the proportion of young people in the population may have an impact on piracy. The large extent of legal supply also contributes to reducing piracy of music, films and TV.


1. The availability of VOD platforms, TV channels and music platforms has increased significantly over the period 2020-2023.

2. The downward trend in piracy has reversed at the end of 2020. It is now being fueled upwards mainly by publishing and TV programmes and, to a lesser extent, by movies. Piracy of music, software and music piracy remains stagnant or increases slightly.

3. There are large variations between countries.

4. The COVID-19 pandemic had a very large impact on film piracy in all EU Member States, with significant decreases in most of them. Although piracy increased again in 2021 and stabilized in 2022, it has not reached pre-COVID-19 levels.

5. Streaming is the preferred method for different types of content, downloading is used for publishing and ripping for music.

6. Piracy of live broadcasts is increasing. Although there is wide variation between countries, the general seasonal patterns are similar.

Furthermore, and according to the econometric analysis:

1. The selected econometric models can explain up to almost 60 % of the variance for music and TV, whereas this figure was around 50 % for pirated TV channels.

2. The legal supply of content in each country is very important in determining the level of piracy in all sectors.

3. Social and economic variables were particularly important in explaining music and film piracy (such as GDP per capita, income inequality or the proportion of young people in the population may have an impact on piracy).

4. Younger consumers are more prone to deliberately accessing pirated content, so a higher proportion of young consumers in the country tends to lead to an increase in piracy.

5. For all content types, higher consumption of legitimate offerings reduces piracy.

See the full study and the executive summary here.