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File sharing reaches the masses in Sweden

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File sharing reaches the masses in Sweden
15:18 CET+01:00
Nearly 700,000 Swedes, or close to 8 percent of the population, used peer-to-peer file sharing programs in early 2008, according to new statistics.

"More than a third of all men aged 16 to 24 used a peer-to-peer file sharing program during the first quarter of 2008," Statistics Sweden said in a report on Internet use.

"Among all surveyed ages the corresponding proportion is approximately one out of 10," it added.

Sweden, which has about nine million people, counted over 685,100 peer-to-peer file sharers during the first three months of the year, according to the study, which was based on a poll of 3,837 people between April 7 and June 9.

"The number of women using peer-to-peer file sharing is less than half than that of men," the statistics agency said, adding that among women aged 65 to 74 there were no users of the programs.

The report did not provide comparative figures on peer-to-peer file sharing in other countries, but did say Sweden ranks second after Norway for Internet use in Europe.

Sweden, which is home to The Pirate Bay -- one of the world's most popular websites for illegal downloading of films, music and computer games -- recently began cracking down on illegal file sharing amid charges that it had become a centre for Internet piracy.

The Swedish government has proposed a new law based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), that would make it easier to track people who illegally share copyrighted material on the Internet.

The law, which is expected to go into effect on April 1 will oblige internet service providers to hand over the IP addresses of computers used for illegal downloads, allowing copyright holders to sue illegal file sharers.

The study also reported that men in Sweden are three times more likely than women to play networked computer games over the internet and men are twice as likely to use internet telephony.

However, women were 50 percent more likely than men to create and manage blogs.

Overall, internet use in Sweden crept up in 2008 after a slight dip in 2007.

Around 84 percent of Swedes regularly surfed the web during the spring of 2008, while internet use reached nearly 95 percent among those under the age of 45.

As in previous years, most Swedes use the internet for email or e-commerce, with more than one in three Swedes between the ages of 16 and 74 reporting having ordered goods or services over the internet in the first quarter of 2008.

In addition, nearly two out of three Swedes bank over the internet, although internet banking is much more common among 25 to 34 year olds, 85 percent of which use the service, compared with 30 percent of those aged 65 and older.

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