Finding new ways to swap files

By Derek Sooman on March 25, 2005, 1:59 PM
Will illegal music trading on the net stop? Can it stop? Perhaps a door has opened that could not be closed, even if P2P itself was made illegal. Why? Because evidence suggests that file swappers are finding more and more ways to trade music and movies. E-mail, IM and even iPods are popular ways it seems.

A Pew survey of 1421 U.S. adult Internet users found that informal file-sharing networks are used by 19 percent of music and video downloaders, with MP3 players, e-mail, and instant messaging products popular mediums for transferring files between friends and family. The results of the survey suggest that legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and others is shifting file swapping to other online avenues, even as file-sharing activity recovers from recent declines, Pew says.

But this really isn't news. People have been swapping music and movies illegally for years, all over the world. How many people swapped tapes? Or copied VCR cassettes?

How can the MPAA and others like it truly stop the trading of movies? Or how can music trading be stopped? Perhaps it is impossible, with so many people doing it.

Approximately 19 percent of the adult Internet users in the survey admitted to downloading files using an MP3 player, such as an Apple IPod. That translates into about 7 million adults, and is surprising, because products like the IPod are not designed to support file sharing between devices, says Mary Madden, a research specialist at Pew who wrote the report.

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