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Last Updated: Friday, 20 January 2006, 14:31 GMT
File-sharing 'not cut by courts'
iPod cases
Digital music is booming - in all forms
Global court action against music file-sharers has not reduced illegal downloading, an industry report says.

The level of file-sharing has remained the same for two years despite 20,000 legal cases in 17 countries.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) said it was "containing" the problem and more people were connecting to broadband.

The global music industry trade body said sales of legal downloads were worth more than $1bn (570m) in 2005.

That is up from $380m (215m) in 2004, with "significant further growth" predicted this year.

DIGITAL MUSIC: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
Legal download sales pass $1bn a year
A library of two million songs legally available
420 million singles downloaded in 2005
19,400 people sued for illegal song-swapping to date
335 legal online music services available
35% of illegal file-sharers have cut back*
14% of illegal file sharers have increased activity*
One in three illegal file-sharers buy less music*
*Jupiter survey of 3,000 people in UK, Germany and Spain
Download stores now offer two million songs - double the number available a year ago - and the total number of legal downloads shot up to 420 million in 2005.

IFPI chairman John Kennedy said the industry was "winning the war but we haven't won the war" against piracy.

The fact that illegal song-swapping had not increased should be regarded as a success, he told the BBC News website.

"I would love to be sitting here telling you that it had gone down," he said.

"As broadband rolls out and as there's an explosion in many countries of broadband, file-sharing is being contained."

But the industry was finding it difficult to persuade existing song-swappers to use legal download services such as iTunes instead, he said.

"Those who've got into the habit of consuming their music for free are very difficult to shift.

More court cases

"And frankly it's an argument for increasing the scale of court cases because at the moment, people still don't think it's going to be them."

There are currently about 870 million song files available to download illegally over the internet, according to the IFPI.

Mr Kennedy also warned that the music industry could sue internet service providers (ISPs) if they do not crack down on their customers who flout copyright rules.

Music piracy could be "dramatically reduced within a very short period of time" if ISPs took action against their law-breaking customers, Mr Kennedy said.

The IFPI's Digital Music Report also revealed that music downloaded onto mobile phones was now worth $400m (227m) per year - 40% of the digital music business.

'Misunderstood'

And Mr Kennedy backed the continuing use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, which controls what consumers can do with their music once it has been purchased - either online or on CD.

DRM remains controversial, with some critics arguing it does little to prevent piracy but instead limits what consumers fairly should be able to do with their music.

Earlier this week, the National Consumer Council complained that DRM was eroding established rights to digital media.

Mr Kennedy, writing in the report, said DRM "helps get music to consumers in new and flexible ways".

He said DRM was a "sometimes misunderstood element of the digital music business".


SEE ALSO:
Let fans decide on digital rights
25 Mar 05 |  Technology
Digital music: Ask the industry
13 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Sony slated over anti-piracy CD
03 Nov 05 |  Technology
Fears raised over digital rights
16 Jan 06 |  Technology
New tune for digital music in 2006
25 Dec 05 |  Technology


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