Better-educated New Zealanders are more likely to pirate content online, a survey has found.

The Horizon Research online survey looked at New Zealanders' habits when downloading content from the internet, including music, videos and books.

It found more than a third had paid for content, while 21 per cent had downloaded it illegally. About a 10th were unsure whether they had ever downloaded illegally.

The survey found people with higher qualifications were more likely to have downloaded content illegally, Horizon Research manager Grant McInman said.


"People who have degrees seem to be more likely than people who don't have degrees to be telling us that they were downloading illegally, or that they had in the past."

The survey found 16.3 per cent of New Zealanders had used a file-sharing service to download content illegally, while 18.6 per cent had downloaded illegally in other ways.

Unsurprisingly, younger adults were more likely to have pirated content.

Some 34 per cent of people aged 18-24 had done so, compared with 4.5 per cent of people aged 65-74 and 2.1 per cent of people aged 75 or older.

While legal downloaders were more numerous than internet pirates, they were also less prolific - only 6.5 per cent had downloaded content in the last week, compared with 30.8 per cent of illegal file-sharers.

Legal downloaders were also using work-arounds to buy content from overseas providers, like Netflix, which usually block local users.

Some 5.8 per cent of all legal downloaders had disguised their geographical locations using a 'virtual tunnel' to pay for overseas content - and almost half of those had done so in the last week.

The survey drew on 2688 responses from an online panel recruited to match the adult New Zealand population. It was commissioned by Horizon Research and conducted between March 20 and April 3.


* 21 per cent have downloaded content illegally

* 35 per cent have paid to download content

* 9 per cent are unsure whether they've downloaded content illegally


* Music (50.3 per cent have downloaded)

* Videos (30.9 per cent)

* TV programmes (28.6 per cent)

* Books (26.9 per cent)