A new study (link in Danish, translated coverage by TorrentFreak) in Denmark has highlighted some of the key reasons why people choose to pirate movies and TV shows in the country, and the answer may be quite surprising.

While the common believe is that people only pirate because it's free, the actual responses from the 2,000 or so surveyed showed that price isn't even in the top 3 reasons why people pirate.

Unsurprisingly though, it was men and young people that were most into the piracy scene, with 30% of 15-29 year-olds engaged in some form of piracy, compared to only 4% for the over 50's.

What was more surprising though was that a majority of those that are currently pirating away actually prefer to do the same via legitimate means, if possible. But most say that three service related issues, convenience, choice and availability of content, are what's "making" them pirate movies and TV shows.

Movies and TV shows pirates also differed in choosing the top reason for their behaviours. Movie downloaders saying convenience was key, possibly referring to the DRM-infested way movie studios prefer to distribute movies, and the lack of the "instantness" of buying DVDs and Blu-rays (not to mention the cost). For TV show downloaders, availability of the latest content without time delay was their number one issue.

But when asked what would convince them to go legit, even given the service issues that are currently present, most (72%) said pricing would have to be lowered in order for them to make the switch. 47% stated that making the latest materials available would also help them go legit.

While movie studios continue to call downloaders as thieves, what they may not realise is that at the same time, they may be verbally attacking their best customers. The study found that in the 15-20 year-old group of people who purchased or rented movies legitimately, almost half of them also downloaded pirated content. This suggest that actions taken by Big Content against pirates may actually hurt themselves in the long run - it is this very group of active buyers that movies studios are now trying to kick offline, through ISP monitoring and "graduated response" regimes.

And Big Content's "propaganda" drive appears to be working, with almost everyone surveyed in the study believing that the web piracy problem is much worse than it actually is - 75% believed that more than 25% of Danes were actively pirating content - the actual figure is lower, at only 15%.