Pew Report States That 27 Percent of Users Download Digital Music and Video

The Pew Internet & American Life Project reported this week that 36 million Americans, 27 percent of internet users, report having downloaded music or video files. Half of this group have skirted the traditional peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and commercial online distribution services (i.e. Napster, iTunes). This is a significant number of digital media users whose sharing of digital media is untraceable by the recording industry and copyright holders.

The report continues to say that recent lawsuits by the recording industry against both media distribution outlets (i.e. Napster) and individual file swappers have encouraged 48 percent of the downloading users’ to move toward informal networks and personal relationships as distribution alternatives. Digital music players, e-mail, and instant messaging (IM) services are popular media for the informal distribution of digital content. The Pew Internet & American Life report, Music and Video Downloading Moves Beyond P2P, estimates that 18 million Americans are sharing digital content through nontraditional media.

Nineteen percent of those surveyed (an estimated 7 million Americans) reported downloading content using a digital media player, an iPod or similar device. E-mail and IM were even more popular alternatives; a reported 28 percent (an estimated 10 million Americans) use e-mail and IM for distribution. Remaining nontraditional distribution channels comprise websites, including blogs.

About a third, 30 percent, of those surveyed reported stopping file sharing because of a fear of prosecution, following the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) purges. About half, 49 percent, of respondents judge that file-sharing networks should be held responsible for the illegal distribution of copyright-protected media that traverses the P2P networks.

I find it particularly interesting that half of the folk, and possibly more, based on my experience, place the legal responsibility for protecting copyrights on the P2P networks, and fail to take personal responsibility for their own actions. It is as if the P2P networks forced the individual downloaders to receive the illegally distributed content. Come on, other than yourselves, you are you trying to fool?

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Pew Internet & American Life Project

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.