A recent survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) shows a 24 percent drop of illegal downloads in the form of software, video and music in the past three years. The study surveyed 1196 young people between the ages of 8 and 18 nationwide.

The survey, first conducted in 2004, indicated that 60 percent of survey participants reported downloading software, music, movies, or games without paying for it; in 2006 the percentage of those who downloaded without paying dropped to 43 percent; and in 2007 the percentage decreased to 36 percent. Youth report that parental oversight is a significant motivator and key influencing factor in their online behavior.
The top three reasons dissuading the youth from illegally downloading copyrighted content include fear of having their computers infected by viruses (62 percent), fear of incurring legal trouble (52 percent) or accidentally downloading spyware (51 percent). Parental oversight is fourth in the list (48 percent). Do you see a pattern here? As I see it the predominating factor here is fear, a strategy that has been used before by groups like the RIAA by suing hundreds of college students. I’m actually glad to see illegal downloads dropping among the youth, however I’d rather see people’s willingness to pay a fair and competitive price for the work of others among the top reasons on the list.