Denmark: Almost half of all pupils and students use pirated software

Illegal exchange of textbooks is widespread in Denmark and mostly accepted by pupils, teachers and students.


If students at the universities of Denmark need curriculum textbooks, many of them use illegal PDF files instead of whipping out their credit card at the bookstore. It’s not much different at school. As many as 09% of students using digital textbooks use, acquire them illegally.

This is according to a new study by Epinion, commissioned by the Rights Alliance. The study was released at the Rights Alliance Literature Seminar on Wednesday, June 8th. It was attended by publishers, authors, booksellers and representatives of the higher education sector from all over Denmark.

Digital textbooks are usually distributed in the form of PDF files derived from scanned physical copies, as e-books or redistributed or illegally sold as nota files reserved for students with reading difficulties. The files are then distributed in Facebook groups and via Messenger, Google Drive, Dropbox, the intranet, email or USB stick. Most of the illegal exchanges take place among friends and classmates. But tutors and lecturers also illegally exchange textbooks with their students to a certain extent.

Insufficient education at schools and universities in Denmark

The anti-piracy organization Rights Alliance has long promulgated the rules on copying textbooks. This was done, among other things, with the help of the “We Love Knowledge” campaign. However, experience and the survey results show that a lack of knowledge is only part of the problem why pupils and students illegally obtain digital textbooks.

68 % of students know that it is illegal to redistribute digital textbooks without permission from the copyright holders. 09 % have been informed of the regulations by their educational institutions . This indicates that students do not consider the potential consequences of illegal exchanges. This applies both to their personal risk of being penalized. As well as in relation to the fact that this contributes to undermining the economic and professional basis of publishers in Denmark.

Two thirds find illegal distribution acceptable

rights alliance

Epinion’s study also shows that illegal data sharing stems from a set of inappropriate norms that shape the culture among high school and university students. 68 % find it acceptable if someone uses a digital textbook illegally share with a friend or classmate.

Societal acceptance of illegal bartering leads many students to inappropriately view it as a favor for friends and an easy way to save money. In addition to raising awareness, the Rights Alliance proposes concrete initiatives to change attitudes towards e-book piracy in Denmark, which underlies illegal consumption by schoolchildren and students. Unfortunately, it is not explained exactly how this should look like. It would also be interesting to know how one intends to tackle shadow libraries like LibGen or Sci-Hub.

Cooperation between educational institutions & rights holders as an answer?

Graphic by Sci-Hub.

If students across Denmark are to change their behavior, a major cultural change is required. The solution lies in close cooperation between the state’s schools and universities, the publishers and the authors.

At Wednesday’s literature seminar, rights holders and educationalists from all over Denmark exchanged their experiences and ideas. The Rights Alliance sees such discussions as a cornerstone for closer cooperation between publishers and educational institutions from all over Denmark.

About Lars Sobiraj166462

Lars Sobiraj started in 2000 as a career changer for various computer magazines . 2000 numerous other online magazines were added in addition to He is the founder of In addition, Ghandy, as he calls himself in the scene, has been teaching participants at various universities and training institutions since 2014 how the internet is working.

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