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BPI Claims 7 Million UK People Use Illegal Internet Piracy Services

Thursday, Feb 7th, 2013 (10:55 am) - Score 2,340

The British Phonographic Industry, which represents the United Kingdom’s music industry and recently reported “strong growth” from digital music sales in 2012, has claimed that 345m tracks were downloaded “illegally” over P2P (BitTorrent) during H1-2012 (compared with 239m legal tracks) and around 7m individuals use at least one service “where content is hosted illegally” every month.

The Digital Music Nation 2013 report noted how the Kantar Worldpanel found that 27.7% of people purchased downloads or streamed content using one of the 70+ legal digital music services in the UK, which is encouragingly double the number claimed to be using P2P to fileshare tracks illegally (14.5%).

Never the less P2P remains the most popular method of obtaining copyrighted material “illegally” and the report claims that around 4m people in the UK are using it each month, while 1.5m prefer cyberlocker (website based file storage) services (down from 2.5m in 2011). As usual such statistics should always be taken with a big pinch of salt.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said:

Britain is blessed with a world-beating array of digital music services, which fans rate very highly for ease of use and value for money. And this is just the beginning. Labels are striking innovative new deals with mobile networks, hardware manufacturers, app developers and start-ups.

The music fan will be the clear winner, as digital services evolve to deliver even richer music experiences via super-fast broadband and 4G to tablets, smart TVs and the next generation of in-car audio.”

The study also says “research strongly suggests that there is an expectation upon government to take a firmer stance on action against piracy” and highlights a number of interesting statistics. For example, 61% of respondents to the AudienceNet survey feel government should do more to educate the public about the law surrounding illegal downloading.

In addition 42% of filesharers “agreed that the blocking of a site would stop them acquiring infringing content“, which might also suggest that the majority would not be so easily deterred. Last year saw a string of internet piracy sites, such as The Pirate Bay (TPB), being blocked by UK ISPs and the BPI believes that there was a 70% reduction in UK TPB users after this action (not everybody agrees with that). Related measures are also easy to circumvent.

In related news the UK High Court has ruled that Rights Holders (MPA) are not entitled to the profits generated by defunct Usenet (Newsgroup) indexing website Newzbin2, which has also been blocked by ISPs, because such a move could have a “chilling effect on innovation and creativity” (here). The Judge said that “a copyright infringer is more akin to a trespasser rather than to the thief of the coins“.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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