updated 10:35 am EDT, Wed March 23, 2011
Demise of dominant P2P site leaves a vacuum
A new study by NPD Group found that illegal file sharing has dropped dramatically since a lawsuit shut down Limewire last year. The Recording Industry Association of American had sued parent company Lime Wire and its CEO Mark Gorton for copyright infringement, claiming that the peer-to-peer site encouraged pirating. The study found that after October 2010, when the service closed, the percentage of Internet users downloading music via P2P services dropped almost in half.
"Limewire was so popular for music file trading, and for so long, that its closure has had a powerful and immediate effect on the number of people downloading music files," said Russ Crupnick, an entertainment industry analyst at NPD. The research company estimates that the number of people downloading music dropped from 28 million in 2007, when the RIAA lawsuit was filed, to 16 million after Limewire was forced to close.
Before the lawsuit, NPD estimates that as many as 16 percent of all Internet users were sharing files with one of the P2P services.
The study also showed the suit had not eliminated P2P sharing entirely, as users adopted other services. For instance, the number of people using Frostwire to share files rose from ten percent in the third quarter of 2010 to 21 percent in the final quarter of 2010, when Limewire closed down. Usage of Bittorrent client u-Torrent also increased, from eight percent to 12 percent, according to NPD.