Grokster Ruling Slows Illegal Downloading


Almost six months after the Supreme Court’s Grokster decision,
illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) music sharing is declining, according
to market research firm NPD Group.


The Port Washington, N.Y.-based company says that from the time of the
Supreme Court decision in June, the number of U.S. households that
downloaded at least one song from an illegal P2P service fell by 11 percent,
from 6.4 million households to 5.7 million.


The decline represents the largest percentage drop in illegal file sharing
since the music industry unleashed an onslaught of infringement lawsuits in
2003. When the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) initially
began suing individuals, the download rate dropped 35 percent.


“Last year’s fourth quarter was a peak period for music file sharing, as
users ended summer activities, returned to school, or were consuming the
latest music releases,” Russ Crupnick, music industry analyst for The NPD
Group, said in a statement. “It wasn’t until the Grokster decision that
substantial reductions in the number of households downloading music
occurred.”


In June, the court ruled that P2P developers are legally responsible for the
illegal acts of their users. The issue, the justices ruled, was not the
technology involved in P2P technology, but the illegal business models of
Grokster and other P2P music sites.


The decision was a major blow to the P2P sites, with Grokster closing in
November.


Crupnick said. “If this trend continues throughout the remainder of the fourth quarter 2005 and into
next year, it would signify a solid victory in the music industry’s efforts
against illegal music file sharing in the U.S.”

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