File sharing drops in Sweden after govt crackdown

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More than 40 percent of Swedes engage in illegal file sharing, but recording industry officials have noted a sharp drop since a government crackdown earlier this year, they said Monday.

"Six out of 10 (users of file sharing sites) have stopped completely, or at least significantly lowered their use of illegal file sharing after the new legislation," Ludvig Werner, chairman of IFPI Sweden, told AFP.

A new Swedish law in effect since April 1 gives copyright holders the right to force Internet service providers to reveal details of users sharing files, opening the way for legal action that could see downloaders pay damages and fines.

The Swedish section of IFPI, an association that represents the recording industry worldwide, in June studied the music consumption habits of 1,006 Swedes aged 15 to 74.

Contrary to previous surveys that contacted respondents by fixed lines -- which would exclude many young people who are frequent Internet users -- the file sharing study contacted Swedes over the Internet.

The survey indicated a sharp decrease in downloading since the new law came into effect, but showed that about 2.8 million Swedes aged 15 to 74 still shared files online.

"I think it's high (the figure), but I'm not surprised," Werner said.

Werner stressed the law had had an impact, but legislation alone was not enough to curb illegal file sharing.

"We also need to prove that markets can produce good legal alternatives for the consumers," he said.