Filesharers buy more music says survey

A public survey sponsored by Google suggests that peer-to-peer filesharers spend 30% more money on legal music purchases than those who don’t join peer-to-peer networks.

And while 80% of the public think it’s acceptable to share copyrighted material with family, and 60% believe the same about passing it onto friends, around 85% say it’s unacceptable to upload content for general consumption.

Columbia University’s American Assembly conducted the survey with support from internet search giant Google. Responses were sought from the USA and Germany in order to establish whether cultural differences existed.

In the US, median P2P users have a music collection of 2000 tracks, of which 760 were purchased legally. Non-network users’ digital collections contain around 1300 songs, of which 580 were sourced legitimately.

The figures suggest that, while filesharers possess more stolen content, they also buy more legal content.

Technology site Ars Technica notes: “There is a perennial debate about whether peer-to-peer file sharing reduces the market for music and other creative content.

“It’s obvious why those who download pirated files from peer-to-peer networks might purchase less content through legitimate channels. But some scholars argue file sharing can make it easier for fans to find new content they like, broadening their tastes and causing them to buy more music in the long run.”

Ars Technica says of the survey results: “It’s an important reminder: heavy P2P users are also heavy consumers of music from legitimate channels.”

The survey also suggests that the vast majority of people – 69% in the US and 71% in Germany – are against internet monitoring as a means of enforcing the law.

Researchers also found that, in general, Germans are more supportive of other efforts to protect copyright: 59% felt that illegal downloading should result in some form of punishment, compared to 52% of Americans.

-Classic Rock Magazine

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