Research Programme


a research programme by Legal Culture [Legalna Kultura]


From October to December 2015 the Foundation Legal Culture was carrying out a quantity sociological research In Circulation, accompanying the project Door Open to Culture. The group of respondents (more than 2000 people) was comprised of inhabitants of small Polish towns and villages, i.e. places with limited access to culture and no access to cinema, participating in the above project Door Open to Culture. These were especially pupils and teachers from schools located in these towns and villages. The subject of the research was to diagnose attitude, behaviour and expectation patterns of the respondents of culture in the context of the resources available online (especially films).

The research results deepen the knowledge about the condition of culture in small Polish towns, especially as far as cinema and the Internet are concerned. The report is both of scientific (knowledge increase in the field of needs and cultural practices of the Poles) and practical value as the research indicates that the Foundation’s projects significantly influence the awareness of the respondents of culture. This influence is visible not only in big cities, but also in smaller towns. According to the research, it is perfectly clear that there is a lot to do in the field of educating. Ignorance of legal sources of culture on the Internet, copy right and related rights as well as a clear need for direct contact with culture in smaller towns etc. proves that to develop the campaign Legal Culture is worth the effort.

In the first part of the research we focused on the information concerning the use of the Internet and the sources of culture in a legal way (including downloading / using materials in form of films, music, games, software etc. via streaming), rights of the authors of culture, the category of online piracy and potential threats posed by the Internet.

Barely 1 % of the inhabitants of small Polish towns declare that they do not use the Internet at all. This means there is no technological barrier any more which some time ago overlapped with geographical divisions.

How do you usually use the Internet?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 2012
A desktop computer or a laptop at home  77%
A desktop computer or a laptop at work  13%
A mobile phone / smartphone with Internet access  64%
Other (e.g. Internet cafe, at a location outside home etc.)  10%
I do not use it at all  1%

Percentage basis: all respondents

The vast majority of the respondents have an unlimited Internet access – as many as 94 %. What matters is the fact that a substantial part of pupils (41 %) taking part in the research can use the Internet at school.

Almost 80 % of the respondents admit they download files such as films, music, books or games from the Internet (or use streaming). In this respect younger people prevail. The table below shows which files are of predominant interest for the Internet users.

What do you mainly download from the Internet (or via streaming)?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1571
Films and series 35%
Music 87%
Books 12%
Games 28%
Other 6%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet for downloading or streaming

When it comes to the knowledge of the respondents regarding the legitimacy of sources they use, it is rather superficial. Almost a quarter of the respondents consciously use legal sources, whereas 19 % do not do that. As many as 56 % of the respondents (over a half!) cannot answer the question what kind of sources they use. It is a relevant piece of information as it clearly indicates the need to take educational steps / actions promoting awareness related to this issue. It is a significant element of the campaign of Legal Culture.

The reasons why people take illegal sources into advantage are diversified, however, without any doubt, economic factors and availability can be named as the most important ones. A lot of respondents praise a wide choice of available forms, which is a relevant factor proving the need to create directories / data bases of legal sources. Barely 10 % of the respondents are of the opinion that “everything available online is there for free for everybody.” Generally, a positive change of the attitude of Internet users can be noticed as far as the moral aspect is concerned. Nevertheless, technology and economics seem not to be following this tendency. This constitutes a challenge for Legal Culture – projects such as Culture on View significantly facilitate the access to legal resources on the Internet.

Why do you download files (films, music, books, games etc.) using illegal sources or use illegal streaming?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 291
They are cheaper or free of charge 40%
They are easily available 43%
They offer a wider choice 20%
I am of the opinion that everything which is available on the Internet is free for everyone 10%
Other reasons 6%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet for downloading or using streaming in an illegal way

Almost 60 % of the respondents do not use programmes coming from illegal sources, while only 13 % admits to be doing that. Only 5 % of the respondents use both legal and illegal programmes, thus, the majority of them makes a conscious choice. However, more than 1/5 of the respondents do not know what kind of software they use, which is a potential field for Legal Culture to take educational actions. The major reasons for taking illegal programmes into advantage are similar in the case of films or music. At this point, the financial aspect is a decisive factor.

The level of knowledge related to legal culture sources on the Internet, which enable users to use streaming or download films, music, books, games etc., is still not satisfactory. Over a quarter of the respondents do not know them at all and over a half knows only “a few” sources of this type. Only 18 % of the respondents declare to have a good knowledge in this respect (know a lot of legal sources). Ignorance of legal culture sources is visible in the answers to specific questions asked to check the real knowledge of the respondents and not just to base on their declarations. A popular website operating illegally was though considered as a legal source by 30 % of the respondents.

The term “intellectual property” is known by the majority of the respondents (66 %). Nevertheless, almost 1/3 of the respondents still admit they do not know what it is. A similar situation may be observed in the context of copyright, however, over a half of the respondents declare they know this notion.

45 % of the respondents admit they consciously take illegal resources into advantage. On the other hand, over a half declares they do not do that. Thus, a positive change in the mentality of Polish Internet users including those living in smaller towns may be observed. Simultaneously it must be admitted that the target group of educational activity of Legal Culture is still the above mentioned 45 % of the respondents.

How do the inhabitants of small towns define online piracy? For almost 1/3 it is still “a way to freely use cultural resources”, however, almost 40 % think that online piracy “is the same kind of theft as a regular one.” This proves that people are getting more aware of the fact that the Internet does not constitute a world which is completely detached and independent from so-called real world, in which neither ethics nor legal provisions apply.

What is online piracy for your?

TOTAL                                                                                                                               N= 1994
A way to freely use cultural resources 31%
A theft like a regular one 39%
Good fun 7%
I do not know / it is hard to say 21%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Over a half of the respondents (56 %) know the project Legal Culture, although they live in a small town. In May 2014 the campaign Legal Culture was known by 23 % of the respondents. In the case of the project In Circulation it was almost a double. This result reflects the developments of the Foundation’s activity within the last 2 years.

As it results from the research the idea of Legal Culture gets a huge support – 72 %. In 2014 there were significantly less supporters of cultural legitimacy (54 %), therefore, there was a visible increase in this respect.

The project Legal Culture is a social campaign promoting the use of legal sources of culture. How do you evaluate the idea of this project?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1994
I definitely support it 46%
I rather support it 26%
I neither support nor reject it 15%
I rather reject it 4%
I definitely reject it 3%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Almost 2/3 of the respondents declare they see a direct relationship between the Foundation’s activity and their knowledge of legal sources of culture on the Internet, whereas in 2014 only 1/3 of the respondents claimed so. The campaign is therefore tangibly changing the awareness of the respondents of culture.

If you know the project Legal Culture (at least you have heard about it), did it change your knowledge related to the legitimacy of online sources in any way?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1994
Definitely yes 25%
Rather yes 35%
Rather no 14%
Definitely no 5%
I do not know / it is hard to say 14%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Almost ¼ of the respondents taking part in the project In Circulation admit the campaign Legal Culture made them stop using illegal sources. In 2014 this number was much lower, i.e. 16 % of the respondents. Therefore, the influence exerted by Legal Culture is on the increase when it comes to changing cultural practices of the Poles.

Only 16 % of the respondents declare that the campaign did not change anything when it comes to their views regarding the use of illegal resources. This proves that neutral reactions to Legal Culture are rare.

If you know the project Legal Culture (at least you have heard about it), did it influence your views regarding using illegal online sources?

TOTAL                                                                                                                               N= 1994
Yes, I stopped using them 23%
Yes, but I still use them 28%
No, it did not influence / change my views 16%
It is hard to say 25%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Only 11 % of the respondents consider downloading / streaming from illegal sources fair. 40 % of the respondents hold a contradictory view and a quarter of them think this is dangerous. The last result proves that the awareness related to the threats lying in wait for dishonest Internet users is increasing.

The short above comparison of the latest research results with the results of the research carried out by Legal Culture some years ago clearly shows that the campaign is effective and enjoys the recognition of the respondents of culture who not only share the idea of Legal Culture more frequently, but also declare that the Foundation’s projects tangibly influence their awareness and attitude.

An important element of the research was a questionnaire about cinema and film. It was created as a natural consequence of the fact that the research was carried out along with the project Open Door to Culture promoting cinematography in small Polish towns. Questions which the respondents were to answer related to the research carried out earlier by the Polish Film Institute [Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej].

Over ¾ of the respondents are of the opinion that they need a cinema in their town. As the majority of them are small towns with no economic possibility to have their own cinema, the activity performed by Open Door to Culture can fill in this gap by conforming to the expectations of the respondents of culture in small Polish towns.

Additionally, the research shows that the inhabitants of small towns and villages rarely go to the cinema, which is presented in the following table.

How often do you go to the cinema?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                 N= 1994
At least once a week 4%
At least once a month 15%
At least every 3 months 35%
Once a year or even more seldom 40%
Never 5%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

A half of the respondents admit they watch films online, whereas the younger generation has a more frequent contact to films online. Therefore, it is essential to be targeting the projects promoting the use of legal online sources at this target group. The table below presents the reasons for that.

Why do you download films from the Internet or use streaming to this end?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                 N= 1000
New films are available to me faster 47%
I have a bigger choice than in the cinema 35%
I pay less than in the cinema 34%
The nearest cinema is too far away 47%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet, downloading films or watching them via streaming

Only 10 % of the respondents pay for all the films watched online, 15 % sometimes do so and 4 % pay for films of particular interest, which are unavailable for free. Almost ¾ of the respondents do not pay for watching films online at all.

17 % of the respondents declare that the last film they watched online was watched via a legal source, however, 14 % of the respondents admit they used illegal sources. It is worth emphasizing that 1/3 of the respondents do not know whether the source was legal or not. In the case of this question, very many respondents (over 1/3) did not provide any answer, which may prove that either they do not know the source they use or they are ashamed to admit they use illegal sources.

Regardless of the attitude and cultural practices the respondents quite often have the awareness of the negative consequences brought about for culture by using illegal online sources (especially for cinematography). The respondents were asked to provide bad results of such attitude. The answers are presented in the table below.

Which sentence ending do you consider right? “Downloading films from the Internet using illegal sources or using them via streaming from illegal sources results in:”

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1994
Lower number of films produced in Poland 22%
Higher prices of cinema tickets 27%
Closing of the cinemas 24%
Lower earnings of the artists 32%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Almost a half of the respondents watch Polish films in the cinema, whereas 23 % of them do it rarely. When asked about watching Polish films online, the situation does not seem so positive any more. Only 17 % of the respondents is interested in watching national productions online, 19 % of the respondents declare to be doing it rarely and as many as 43 % – never. Many people watch Polish films in the cinema, therefore, one should come up with appropriate online incentives like educational programmes promoting national cinematography obtained from legal sources. The younger generation watches Polish films rather on the Internet, while the older one – in traditional cinema.

Would the inhabitants of small Polish towns be likely to pay for the possible availability of the current cinema repertoire in a legal online source? In the table below answers are presented.

Would you pay for the following service: a possibility to download a film currently being broadcast in cinemas from a legal online source or legal streaming?

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1994
Yes, both for a Polish and a foreign one 24%
Yes, but only for Polish one 6%
Yes, but only for a foreign one 5%
No 25%
I do not know / it is hard to say 20%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

No unambiguous conclusions relating to future success of such an initiative can be drawn on this basis, however, it is satisfactory that Polish cinema is not an “outcast” among cultural needs of the inhabitants of smaller towns.

Over a half of the respondents are aware of the fact that films from illegal sources frequently need to be paid for. It shall be stressed that many respondents did not answer this question, therefore, this optimistic perspective can be distorted to some extent. The majority of the respondents (60 %) are also aware of the fact that films from legal sources may as well be free of charge.

The last part of the research encompassed the evaluation of the project Door Open to Culture which respondents participated in. As many as 65 % of the respondents evaluated the project positively – it is an outstanding result taking into account the fact that this was the first edition. Almost 2/3 of the respondents are waiting for the continuation of the project next year.

Over a half of the respondents declare that such actions are needed in their towns and 42 % of them indicate personal benefits. It seems that we pay more attention to things which are good for the whole community and not only individuals.

As many as 42 % of the respondents think that the most important element of Open Door to Culture was the workshop of Legal Culture. It is clearly visible that such initiatives are needed in small towns with limited access to culture.

Name the element of Door Open to Culture which is the most important to you.

TOTAL                                                                                                                                N= 1994
Workshop of Legal Culture 42%
Presentation before the film 21%
Film screening 27%

Percentage basis: respondents using the Internet

Research results confirm the sense and need to run educational projects promoting culture in Poland. The Foundation Legal Culture also takes care of these citizens who have limited access to culture due to their place of living (especially limited availability of films). The project Door Open to Culture was positively evaluated. The respondents also support values and actions carried out within the scope of the social campaign Legal Culture. Knowledge provided by the research and directly connected with the attitude of the respondents towards film, cinema and especially some suggestions for improving the access to films, which were provided by the Polish Film Institute, is also important.

Disturbing and simultaneously motivating is a high level of ignorance among respondents of culture of its legal and illegal online sources. The Foundation Legal Culture sees this as a challenge to struggle with. Therefore, we want to continue our promotional and educational projects, but we also plan to implement new initiatives. One of the most important tasks for the Foundation is to create a directory and an extended data basis of legal sources. The research shows though that in practice this instrument can be the only one solution to make conscious and fair choices in the Internet.

Look out:

In the case of some questions answers do not constitute 100 %. This may result from two reasons. First, a huge part of the questions were based on the multiple choice model – the authors of the research project put the quality of the results (and comfort of the respondents) first, and not the easiness to code them. Second, some questions were left unanswered (although the option “I do not know / it is hard to say” was mainly available) – in this case incomplete summary of percentage is related to lack of some data. Such a situation is pretty normal in the case of a survey with such a huge group of respondents, among which there are many children. This does not distort the image of the whole, because these are not significant percentage values.

Sociological research In Circulation fulfilled and financed within the scope of Operational Programme of the Polish Film Institute [Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej]. Education and Promotion of Film Culture. Priority: Research and Development.