Europeans are the leading offenders among Internet users who are illegally downloading films at a rate that, for the first time, surpasses music piracy.
In 2003, global file-sharing networks were used to download more movies, games and software -- for free -- than music, said a report released Friday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Herald Tribune reported.
Six of the eight countries with the most peer-to-peer, or file swapping, users in 2003 were in Europe, with Germany second, behind the United States, the study said.
During the third quarter 2003, however, the number of cases in Europe of movie copyright infringements on the Internet exceeded those in the United States, said Dara MacGreevy, the Motion Picture Associations' Brussels-based regional director for anti-piracy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
In France, an estimated 2.9 million Internet users are downloading approximately 32 million films monthly, significantly impacting movie theater attendance and video sales and rentals, the Tribune said.
The MPA is planning a global campaign of anti-piracy movie trailers to discourage illegal downloading.
The United States launched its anti-piracy film effort in June.