Music Biz: New Laws Have Reduced Piracy In P2P’s Heartland

Sweden, land of The Pirate Bay, is pretty much the home of illegal file sharing. So we were suspicious when a report emerged in April claiming a 30 percent reduction in internet traffic following a new anti-piracy measure, and remained so when a similar report surfaced in July.

But the record business’ International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) umbrella body indeed says most file-sharers have stopped since Sweden adopted new laws to tackle the problem in April.

“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,” IFPI’s Sweden branch says, after conducting a study.

Sweden followed the UK, Holland and France in adopting the European Commission’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), allowing rightsholders to petition ISPs for the identities of freeloaders.

The move has slimmed the proportion of people who download illegally at least once a month to 19 percent, according to IFPI Sweden’s poll of 1,006 Swedes aged 15 to 74.

Freeloaders have switched to free streaming services, the body says, crediting “better legislation” and “better legal services”. That’s likely a nod to Sweden’s other online music service export, Spotify, in which IFPI’s main members, the big four labels, own equity.