Illegal music downloads continue to rise in UK

Survey brings little Christmas cheer for record industry

Survey brings little Christmas cheer for record industry

People in the UK are illegally downloading more music over the internet than ever before, according to a new survey.

The survey, backed by the British recorded music industry body the BPI, showed that a third (29 per cent) of the 3,442 people questioned admitted to illegally obtaining music over the internet.

Those questioned estimated they increased their use of illegal music download sites and services from May to November this year. Use of unlicensed MP3 pay sites went up 47 per cent, newsgroups went up 42 per cent and FTP servers went up 29 per cent.

Use of illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) filesharing - where people share copyrighted files over the internet using P2P technology - accounted for the bulk of copyright violations but the proportion of people using it stayed roughly the same as in February this year, with 23 per cent of people admitting to P2P filesharing.

File sharing

People in the UK are making greater use of illegal music download sites and services
(Photo credit: via under the following Creative Commons licence)

Nearly half (47 per cent) of people using P2P sites and software to share music do so on a weekly basis, with almost a third (31 per cent) doing so every day.

On average nine music tracks are downloaded through P2P networks each month, compared to 4.9 through MP3 pay sites and 5.3 through newsgroups, the survey found.

People already illegally downloading music predicted they would download even more tracks illegally in the six months following November, with use of P2P sites and software predicted to increase by five per cent and MP3 pay sites by 40 per cent.

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor said in a statement: "It's disappointing that levels of illegal P2P use remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem."

The survey was conducted in November, the month when the government announced new laws that will see people who illegally download copyrighted content possibly having their internet connection cut off.