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Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Lawsuits swaddle file-sharers

Some 14% of Americans online said they had stopped downloading music, said the Pew Internet research centre in the US. But at the same time, the study found more people were once again turning to the internet for music. This was due to more people using legal services, as well as switching to less well-known file-sharing programs.

While the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), blames the file-sharing of copyrighted material for a global decline in music sales, evidence shows that a segment of users are simply moving away from the most popular and highly monitored file-sharing networks.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported in January that the number of music file downloaders had fallen from 29% of internet users to just 14%. In its follow-up survey, the researchers found more evidence that the record industry scare approach was working. A telephone survey of 1,371 net users across the US found that 14% of people who used to download music had abandoned the practice.

The legal threat was also having an effect on persistent file-sharers, with 38% saying they were downloading music less frequently because of the lawsuits. But at the same time, the researchers found that music downloading was once again on the rise - from 18 million Americans three months ago to 23 million now.

According to Media Matrix net analysts, the popular file-sharing Kazaa appeared to be badly hit, having a drop of five million users.

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