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Legal Music Downloads vs File-Sharing

Consumer attitudes towards music downloads have changed dramatically. Legal music downloads have increased by almost 30% whilst illegal downloads have seen a decline of the same amount. Why the change ? Research in Austria suggests that consumers fear legal action against file-sharing (illegal music downloads).Not only are you breaking the law by downloading copyrighted material, but you are also downloading potentially harmful viruses to your PC. Close to 40% of file-sharers in the US and the UK have cited that the main reason they stopped downloading music using P2P (peer-to-peer) programs such as Kazaa was due to the fear of lawsuits. Since the recording industry started taking legal action against file-sharers in September of 2003, 14227 actions have been announced in 12 countries.

These lawsuits can cost you tens of thousands of dollars ! It isn't your average teenager who downloads music illegally on the internet. You'd be surprised to learn that people from all walks of life are involved too. Doctors, teachers, nurses, cooks, university students, and even a judge ! John Kennedy, IFPI (International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers) Chairman and CEO, had this to say, "We are now seeing real evidence that people are increasingly put off by illegal file-sharing and turning to legal ways of enjoying music online. Whether it's fear of getting caught breaking the law, or the realisation that many networks could damage your home PC, attitudes are changing, and that is good news for the whole music industry." Legal music downloading started really taking off during the first half of 2005, especially in Europe.

In the US alone, 159 million tracks were legally downloaded in that period. Subscriptions to online music downloading services such as Napster, iTunes and Rhapsody now count well over 3 million users. Napster, for example, is expanding its reach. There is Napster UK, Napster Germany and Napster Canada. Hopefully they will expand into countries like Australia, France, South Africa and many more. Connect by Sony, Real's Rhapsody, and Apple's iTunes are three of the most popular legal downloading services. You can expect to get charged between 79˘ and 99˘ per song. The monthly subscription charges range between $10 and $15. What would you rather pay ? $15 per month or $15,000 in court fees ? File-sharing networks are plentiful on the internet, with Kazaa being one of the most popular. Yes, the music is free, but you are better off paying the price of a CD per month and getting your music legally.


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