Jupiter study identifies Spain as worst offenders.

Unauthorized peer-to-peer file-sharing activity remains high in Western Europe despite the music industry's use of litigation to clamp down on the practice, according to new research.

The study, published today (June 6) by analyst group Jupiter Research, concludes that illegal P2P remains a regular activity among consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and Spain.

Of the 3,500 respondents, 15% admitted to using file-sharing networks to circulate unlicensed music tracks every month; that figure was boosted in part to the growing availability of high-speed broadband Internet, Jupiter says.

"Despite recent high-profile legal cases and efforts from the music industry to make digital music more accessible, illegal music file sharing is still pervasive and firmly established in the European online landscape," comments London-based Jupiter research director Mark Mulligan.

The worst perpetrators were found to be in Spain, where 26% of those interviewed were frequent illegal downloaders. The country also has one of the lowest average spend per capita on total music at just €12.25 ($15) each a year. This compares with the United Kingdom where the average spend on total music per person is €52 ($63) a year.

"Spain's low average music spend is not necessarily due to file-sharing alone, rather file-sharing reflects the state of the local music market," Mulligan adds.

The survey was completed in the third quarter of 2004.