The Pew Internet & American Life Project, in a report released Wednesday, found that 7 million Americans — or about 9 percent of Internet users — are currently making unlicensed copies of music from someone else’s iPod or similar MP3 device. About 10 million are getting bootlegged music and movies through e-mail and instant messages.
To some analysts, the study offers further proof of the myriad ways that piracy is thriving despite efforts by the entertainment industry to curb it.
About 36 million Americans–or 27% of internet users–say they download either music or video files and about half of them have found ways outside of traditional peer-to-peer networks or paid online services to swap their files. Some 19% of current music and video downloaders, about 7 million adults, say they have downloaded files from someone else’s iPod or MP3 player. About 28%, or 10 million people, say they get music and video files via email and instant messages. However, there is some overlap between these two groups; 9% of downloaders say they have used both of these sources.
In all, 48% of current downloaders have used sources other than peer-to-peer networks or paid music and movie services to get music or video files. Beyond MP3 players, email and instant messaging, these alternative sources include music and movie websites, blogs and online review sites.
This “privatization” of file-sharing is taking place as the number of Americans using paid online music services is growing and the total number of downloaders is increasing, though not nearly to the level that existed before the recording industry began to file lawsuits against suspected music file sharers in mid-2003.