UK Music Industry Now Blames Non-P2P Download Methods

UK Music Industry Now Blames Non-P2P Download Methods

Consumer survey proves proposed “three-strikes” legislation will have little effect on levels of illegal file-sharing.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has released the results of a consumer survey arguably proving once and for all that UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson’s plans for a “three-strikes” graduated response system will have little effect on the levels of illegal file-sharing.

It says that the number of illegal file-sharers using P2P networks has remained steady over the past year, but that the number of people using web-based, non-P2P methods of downloading music illegally, such as unlicensed MP3 pay sites, newsgroups, or blogs and forums linking to file-hosting sites like Rapidshare and Mega Upload, are growing considerably.

The biggest increases were in overseas unlicensed MP3 pay sites, up 47%, and newsgroups, up 42%.  Illegal use of file-hosting sites is up 18%.

Curiously enough the BPI also blamed MP3 search engines, a la Google for example, for a 28% rise in illegal downloading, somewhat vindicating what BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay has argued in its defense for charges of copyright infringement, and proving once again that technology will always be one step ahead.

P2P could easily come down to simple email attachments. Would the BPI then demand that we begin examining those as well?

“There are now more than thirty-five legal digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music legally,” says Geoff Taylor, BPI’s Chief Executive. “It’s disappointing that levels of illegal P2P use remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem.  It’s vital that those measures come into force as quickly as possible.”

That may be the case according to this survey, but others before it have concluded otherwise.

According to a recent survey by The NPD Group, a market research company, the number of music tracks illegally downloaded by teens aged 13-17yo, the music industry’s “best customers,” is down 6% since 2008, many preferring the ease and convenience of free online streaming.

“The growth in other, non-P2P methods of downloading music illegally is a concern, and highlights the importance of including a mechanism in the Digital Economy Bill to deal with threats other than P2P,” adds Taylor.

What does he mean?

A “three-strikes” plan won’t stop newsgroups. It won’t stop Rapidshare. It won’t stop overseas unlicensed pay sites, and it sure as heck won’t stop Google.

This is one survey the BPI should’ve kept to itself

Stay tuned.

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