Video, Software Downloads Overtake Music: Study

European countries lead movie downloads.

Music is no longer the download of choice for Internet pirates, 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 (OECD), to be published Monday.

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

Video accounted for 27%, up from 25.2%, 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 speedier Internet connections and compression technologies available 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.

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

Web surfers based in Italy, Belgium, France, Norway, U.K., Finland and Poland also downloaded a higher percentage of movies than those in the U.S.

A separate global study published Thursday by the Motion Picture Assoc. of America 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.

AP LogoCopyright 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

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