Online piracy has decreased in Australia but those who continue to illegally download are stealing more than ever before.

A new government report revealed the proportion of Australians who pirate music, movies, TV shows or games has fallen for the fourth year in a row.

Despite the trend towards paid content, the volume of digital files consumed unlawfully increased in all four categories.

Australians stole 292million songs in 2018, up from 184million the year before, and pirated 4million more games, 20million more movies, and 69million more TV shows.

In 2015, 57 per cent of Australians exclusively consumed lawful digital content, rising to 67 per cent this year.

‘When considering the data as a whole, the increasing trend continues for consumers to pay for some of their digital content while the consumption of 100 per cent free content continues to decline,’ the report stated.

‘This trend is probably driven by paid streaming services such as Netflix and Stan which have been shown to experience dramatic popularity over the past few years and negates the need for consumers to source the content using other means.’

A large majority of survey respondents agreed it was wrong to access content online without the creator’s or artist’s permission.

Even among those who admitted to engaging in online piracy, only 16 per cent disagreed, down from 21 per cent in 2015.

When asked what would make them stop illegally downloading, 26 per cent of infringers said they would cease if legal services were cheaper.

Another 23 per cent claimed they were unsure what was legal and what wasn’t, and six per cent said they would never stop.

Of the respondents to the survey who use paid content services, 34 per cent said it was because they don’t want to use sites providing illegal content.

Speed and convenience were given as a reason by 49 per cent of respondents, and 36 per cent said paid services provided better quality.

The 2018 online copyright infringement survey garned 2,453 responses, and showed an increase in streaming and a decrease in downloading.