The war against illegal file-sharing is tilting in favor of the music industry, a new report published today (July 21) claims. Figures published by the IFPI suggest the industry's controversial use of

The war against illegal file-sharing is tilting in favor of the music industry, a new report published today (July 21) claims.

Figures published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry suggest the industry's controversial use of legal action is actually deterring file-sharers. At the same time, the IFPI notes that the legal download business has exploded in the first half of 2005, particularly in Europe.

Illegal file-sharing remains "virtually flat," according to the London-based trade group. It backs those claims with data collated by research company Jupiter for its "U.K. Music Consumer Survey" published in April. In it, Jupiter suggests that 37% of currently active file-sharers in the United Kingdom are reducing their activities over the concern of legal action.

Since the record industry began taking action against illegal P2P activities in September 2003, more than 11,000 lawsuits have been levelled at file-sharers across 12 countries.

During the past six months, the IFPI estimates that infringing music files available on file-sharing networks and Web sites rose from 870 million in January to 900 million by June. Over the same timeframe, the installation of broadband lines soared.

IFPI estimates that single track downloads in the top four online markets -- the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France -- have risen triple-fold in the first six months to 180 million, up from 57 million in the same period last year.

Apple Computer this week announced its market-leading iTunes download store had sold its 500 millionth track worldwide. Just last month, that figure was 430 million. Apple's iTunes claims a licensed catalog of 1.5 million titles.

"We are now seeing real evidence that people are increasingly put off by illegal file-sharing and turning to legal ways of enjoying music online," comments IFPI chairman/CEO John Kennedy, adding "we are not there yet."

Also in its report, the IFPI notes that users are increasingly embracing the subscription download model. In the first six months of 2005, 2.2 million people worldwide were reported to have subscribed to music services worldwide, up from the 1.5 million subscriptions estimated in IFPI's "Digital Music Report," published in January.

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