ArtsWatch: P2P Music File-Sharing Still Declining

NPD Group reports 2012 was a “year of progress” for antipiracy results
Philip Merrill

In recent news …

Legal Music Streams Edge Out File-Sharing
On Feb. 26 the NPD Group released findings from their “Annual Music Study 2012” showing that illegal file-sharing over peer-to-peer networks declined 17 percent compared to the previous year, a continued drop since P2P’s peak in 2005. Senior VP of Industry Analysis Russ Crupnick said, “For the music industry, which has been battling digital piracy for over a decade, last year was a year of progress.” Among those who quit P2P, nearly half credited the availability of legal streaming services and many complained about the prevalence of malware on illegal music sites. NPD also found that P2P downloaded data declined 26 percent in volume, friends and family sharing files ripped from CDs declined 44 percent, “files swapped from hard drives” declined 25 percent, and downloads from cyberlockers declined 28 percent.

Copyright Alert System Kicks Off
The Center for Copyright Information announced on Feb. 25 that the Copyright Alert System has begun its implementation phase. Executive Director Jill Lesser blogged, “CCI and its partners have worked hard to meet our goal of implementing a system that educates consumers about copyright and P2P networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, and safeguards customer privacy.” Consumer advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation chose the headline, “The Copyright Propaganda Machine Gets A New Agent: Your [Internet Service Provider].” For some music industry advocates, the EFF version sounds pretty good and may produce much-needed results. The outcry from Internet freedom activists concerned about punishment for customers who continue pirating, even after repeated warnings, could actually help get the word out. Also, ISPs are free to customize how they deal with their own subscribers, so there will be an incentive not to scare consumers over to competing services. Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said, “I will continue to use my role on the Center for Copyright Information Advisory Board to ensure that Internet users’ rights are protected; that the process provided under the CAS is robust and accessible; and that the CAS operates transparently and with public input.” Those consumer-oriented goals, if met, should help CAS become an accepted part of American life. The Copyright and Technology blog compared CAS to international graduated response efforts and concluded, “Analysis of the CAS’s results will … be … useful in determining how successful education by itself can be in getting people to respect copyright.”

Creative Rights Caucus Formed On Capitol Hill
On Feb. 21 Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Howard Coble (R-N.C.) announced the formation of the Congressional Creative Rights Caucus for the 113th Congress. Both representatives serve on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, which Coble chairs. Speaking to, The Recording Academy’s Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer Daryl P. Friedman said, “Along with the Recording Arts and Sciences Caucus and the Songwriters Caucus, it demonstrates Congress is serious about finding ways to protect creators in a bipartisan way.”

The Pirate Bay Announces That It Will Announce …
In response to threats of litigation by Swedish antipiracy group Rights Alliance on Feb. 17, Sweden’s Pirate Party decided it will no longer underwrite Internet hosting costs for notorious torrent-linking site the Pirate Bay. On Feb. 26 party leader Anna Troberg said, “The Pirate Party’s mission is not to produce martyrs for the copyright industry,” vowing to focus their efforts on elections in 2014. “Today, there are more than 60 different Pirate Parties all around the world. Every cut connection to the Pirate Bay will generate two new connections,” said Troberg. Meanwhile, the Pirate Bay described its Feb. 26 hosting arrangements through Norway and Spain as temporary and expressed its hope that an even bigger announcement of back-end changes would be ready by later this week. Last October TPB revealed its back-end change to hosting in the cloud, so presumably its next step will build on such previous efforts to achieve technological immunity from international law enforcement.