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File sharing in Sweden nears record high

Published: 06 Dec 2009 10:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Dec 2009 10:34 GMT+01:00

Following a severe drop in the aftermath of Ipred, Sweden’s new anti-piracy law implemented in April, illegal file sharing is once again on the rise, reaching record high levels.

Many experts believed that the Ipred law wouldn’t have any effect on file-sharing. But the results were dramatic, with a 40 percent drop in Internet traffic the night before the law went into effect on April 1, according to statistics from Netnod, a Swedish organization that coordinates national Internet service providers (ISPs).

At the time, Netnod figures were generally considered to be the best measure of illegal file sharing.

The entertainment industry was satisfied and hoped for a boost in record sales. And according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), music sales increased by 18 percent over the first nine months of 2009.

But after the feverish downloading at the end of March and the abrupt decline in April, file sharing has steadily recovered. Several weeks ago, Internet traffic passed the previous all-time high, reported in March.

But the numbers are not so straightforward. Netnod statistics are an extremely rough measure of file sharing and there are several other factors that could have contributed to the increase in Internet traffic. Some of it can also be attributed to entirely legal businesses.

Spotify and the various television channels ‘Play’ sites haven’t yet released their statistics. There is guaranteed to be certain increase in file sharing, but it isn’t possible to tell exactly how much,” said researcher Kristoffer Schollin, who studies file-sharing and gave expert testimony during the Pirate Bay trial in March.

At the same time, Internet security company McAfee estimates that the number of file-sharing sites has exploded by 300 percent since the spring. The decisive factor was the Pirate Bay trial in March, when many believed that the Pirate Bay site would be shut down, according to McAfee.

“Then you have the illegal video streaming sites, which aren’t file sharing in the traditional sense, but which play the same role for users. Watching a movie via a streaming video directly in your web browser is becoming more and more popular,” Schollin said.

But in terms of copyright, the practice is entirely different than file sharing. Users don’t download anything and don’t risk infringing upon copyrights.

“All together, even with a conservative estimate of increased traffic together with the increased number of sites and more options, you can say that file sharing is healthier than ever,” Schollin said.

In the long-term, however, experts believe that file sharing will become less significant even if the practice continues to spread. Spotify, Voddler and other legal services will gradually crowd out a large portion of illegal file-sharing.

“This dangerous and exciting phases will probably be entirely undramatic when the private and illegal file sharing will be relegated to a niched and auxiliary existence. Instead of now, when Spotify is subordinate to file sharing,” Schollin said.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:21 December 6, 2009 by Nemesis
They need to reduce the prices of DVDs and Blurays in Sweden. There is no excuse for the high prices on blurays in Sweden.

It cost me 1300 krona to buy Battlestar Galactica The Complete Series bluray, from Amazon.co.uk. I looked at it in a shop in Malmö for 3500 Krona.

Star trek bluray is 300 krona in Sweden, yet 200 krona on amazon.co.uk.

I tried to order the Dune Bluray and got a quote of 460 krona. I bought it on Amazon.co.uk for 220 krona.

All 3 underworld blurays cost the same from amazon as a underworld last of the lycans in the shops in Sweden.

The greed needs to stop. The prices need to be reduced and people will buy more films again.
18:15 December 6, 2009 by wyntha
The final solution is streaming of movies, TV shows, Podcasts, music and audio books, playlists on demand and to whatever device capable of playing them on the premise that a) the person wanting to look at the stream can be identfied and authenticated on device and b) the provider is either streaming free material or material that the person has legitmately purchased earlier and the provider has a record of those purchases.

With the above in place (3 years away) there won't be a need to download anything as people's collections will be held by the provider and the records of what one has purchased is maintained by them. No need to backup, buy hard drives to store collections on, worry about loosing stuff, having to cart stuff around, find space to store CDs, HDs, DVD'.......... What a relief.
22:30 December 6, 2009 by krigeren
@wyntha

Exactly.

Its a case of the recording and film industry being behind the distribution technology.

And its the recording, film, and TV industries own fault.

They want consumers to bend to the will of their antiquated distribution models.

Myself and most other consumers want their media anytime and anyplace. To think that I am going to go to a store to buy a movie is such an old fashioned way of thinking...or even that I need any physical item at all.

I would gladly pay the same rates I used to pay for premium cable for on demand TV...Honestly I would pay more..1000 SEK a month to be able to watch any "premium cable" release movie and any TV show over the last two seasons. I would pay more to watch newer movies and older TV shows and movies.

Here in Sweden the TV subscription providers are so lame and the local content sucks. Cast TV and such are life savers.

The critical point that labels and studios have to understand is segmentation. We are all watching less and less of more and more..eventually I suppose we will all be looking at ourselves in the mirror ;-)
08:52 December 7, 2009 by uunbeliever
@nemesis. a difference of 100 kr? cmon the price here includes tax as well and no shipping. We all know that in a socialist society things that are useless and unnecessary cost nore (dvs computers and dvds). Move or pay more for social services. Complainers.
09:52 December 7, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
@nemesis. I agree with your point especially with regard to video games where the UK prices are sometimes less than50% of the Swedish costs. But I'm not sure what this has to do with file sharing. Amazon.co.uk and play.com both deliver to Sweden as indeed DVD.co.uk does with a small amount extra for postage.
11:31 December 7, 2009 by nneville
I say these companies deserve to get screwed as long as they keep making media and devices that are Region Specific. Blue-ray and DVD players should not be region coded any longer. You can't always find movies in your market because they are from another country and we are expected to pay so much more for a region free device. Why don't they region code music cd's? Because they know sales would hit the floor. It undermines our ability to have prurchase content when downloading it/stealing it is out only alternative. Until they recognize that their global reach has global customers, download, download and download. They are all a bunch of old farts out of touch with customer demands.
12:05 December 7, 2009 by eZee.se
No real reason to shout and complain...

they want to act greedy, simply download whatever you would have originally bought.

Vote and speak with your wallet.

Simple.
12:16 December 7, 2009 by davo339
There is a musician named Jonah Matranga, has a solo project named onlinedrawing, but has been in a couple of other bands such as Far, New End Original, and Gratitude. I wish more musicians felt the same way about music as he does (especially with his onelinedrawing project) he often plays free shows (or shows that cost very little to get into) there was once a time where the show sold out and some people were left outside and could not come in to enjoy the show. so afterward he went outside and played a show for them in the streets because thats how much he cares about music and his fans. He also sells cds from his website, and theres no set price on them, you pay what you think the music is worth to you. IMO thats a real artist/musician. someone who does it for the people who like it and respect it. He just love to play and make music. I hope more people follow and break free of the large music companies that poison music. But probably not... anyway its ok to dream.
13:52 December 7, 2009 by peropaco
I say crew the entertainment industry.
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