That is the conclusion of a study from researchers at the University of Nevada looking at the different types of anti-piracy messaging and which have the most impact with consumers. It seems that something along the lines of, “STOP. This is illegal. You may be monitored and you may be fined,” along with a warning icon is the thing that works best.

The research was based on monitoring audience responses and icons that escalated in severity, with 60 different iterations used. It is important to note that respondents might point towards the most effective combination but it does not follow that they will have the desired impact on regular pirates – something the IFPI says is still a concern, even in the streaming age, with a recent report claiming that 38% of consumers globally are getting at least some of their music through copyright infringement.

Maybe Madonna was onto something back in 2003 when she flooded P2P with fake tracks from her American Life album that were basically MP3s of her shouting, “What the [swear word we have removed to ensure this newsletter gets through company email filters, but you can easily guess what it is] do you think you are doing?” All she was missing was a stern symbol to go with it.

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