Oops! They're swapping again

Illegal music downloading could be making a comeback, according to market researchers who note a surge in the use of peer-to-peer services.

The NPD Group, an independent market research firm, reported on Friday that peer-to-peer usage was up 14 percent in November 2003 from September. This upturn comes after six straight months of declines in digital file sharing. Usage dropped dramatically starting in April 2003, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began its well-publicized campaign of threatening individual file sharers with legal action.

"It's important to keep in mind that file sharing is occurring less frequently than before the RIAA began its legal efforts to stem the tide of P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing," Russ Crupnick, vice president of NPD, said in a statement. "We're just seeing the first increase in these numbers. NPD will continue to monitor whether it's a temporary seasonal blip or a trend that suggests that the industry should be more aggressive in capping the use of illegal methods to acquire digital music." The RIAA has launched more than 300 lawsuits since it started its campaign against file swapping. Officials for the organization have been optimistic about its success, pointing to polls that suggest that people are more aware of the risks involved in the practice.

News source: C|Net News.com

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