How consumers perceive IP, the degree to which they respect it, as well as their general knowledge and awareness of the value of IP and the damages caused by infringement, are important drivers of consumer behaviour.
Consumers are vital actors in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Research shows that they often find themselves wondering whether products or offers are genuine or not. A core task of the Observatory is to provide consumers, especially younger ones, with the evidence and means to make informed choices.
The IP Perception study series, carried out by EUIPO through the European Observatory on Infringements of Intellectual Property Rights, confirmed that a majority of EU citizens thought that IP helped to provide of consumer protection, in terms of quality and other attributes, thus ensuring wider benefits for society.
However the IP Youth Scoreboard study showed that between 35 and 50% of young people – between the ages of 15 and 24 – had more tolerant attitudes towards counterfeiting or illegal downloading. As a result, the Ideas Powered initiative was set up, aimed at young people. The initiative hosts, among other activities, an online community for two-way discussion on IP and a yearly gathering of young influencers who help to develop awareness-raising actions among young people about the value of IP.
Research also showed that consumers require affordable legal offers, and seem increasingly confused about what constitutes a legal source of digital content or whether products bought are genuine. In September 2016 the European online content portal, agorateka, was launched to act as a single entry point for legal offers for music, television, films, games, books and sports events in participating EU Member States, as well as in participating countries outside the EU.
With the aim of helping consumers to make well-informed decisions in the online environment that are in compliance with copyright legislation, a simplified online copyright guide with clear answers to the most frequently asked consumer questions was developed in 2016, covering all EU Member States.
An inventory of awareness campaigns and programmes is maintained and developed to assist in the design and deployment of new awareness activities in cooperation with the Observatory network, notably though cooperation agreements the EUIPO has in place with the national and regional IP offices of the EU or through grants.