Video, Software Downloads Overtake Music

Monday, July 12th 2004, 12:44 pm
By: News On 6

PARIS (AP) _ Music is no longer the download of choice for Internet file swappers, according to a new study on online file sharing.

For the first time last year, music swapping on the Internet was outpaced by the copying of movies and other non-audio files, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, to be published Monday.

Across the OECD's 30 industrialized member countries, music accounted for 48.6 percent of files shared online, compared with 62.5 percent in 2002, according to excerpts of the report seen by The Associated Press.

Video accounted for 27 percent, up from 25.2 percent, the study will say.

The findings will do little to reassure movie studios, which are worried that they will be the next victims of the ever speedier Internet connections and compression technologies on offer to consumers.

Online piracy through sites like Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus _ which let computer users connect directly to one another to exchange files _ has already been blamed for a five-year decline in CD sales that has hurt music labels.

European countries are leading the way in movie downloading, the OECD report shows, with video accounting for 35.4 percent of files swapped by German users of Kazaa, compared to 23.7 percent by U.S. users.

Web surfers based in Italy, Belgium, France, Norway, Britain, Finland and Poland also downloaded a higher percentage of movies than those in the United States.

A separate global study published Thursday by the Motion Pictures Association found that about one in four Internet users had already downloaded a movie. Most said they would pirate more if they took less time to download.

The OECD report does not give separate numbers for pirated downloads and those that do not infringe copyright. Despite a growing number of paid-for services like Apple's music site iTunes, however, experts say the vast majority of file swaps are still unauthorized.

The biggest growth in downloading last year was in ``other files'' _ neither music nor film _ which almost doubled their share to about a quarter of all downloads. The category includes software and pornography, but the report gives no breakdown between the two.