More carrot, less stick
The BPI - the trade organisation for the UK recorded music industry - has revealed that in spite of its best efforts, and significant media coverage of the issue, levels of illegal filesharing in the UK are not declining.
Perhaps even more worrying for the BPI is the fact that, while peer-to-peer filesharing levels have remained more or less the same, other methods such as overseas MP3 pay sites and links to cyberlockers - online data storage facilities - have grown significantly in the past six months.
"There are now more than thirty-five legal digital music services in the UK, offering music fans a great choice of ways to get music legally," said Geoff Taylor, BPI chief exec. "It's disappointing that levels of illegal P2P use remain high despite this and the publicity surrounding imminent measures to address the problem. It's vital that those measures come into force as quickly as possible."
While you can understand Taylor's desire for ever more draconian rules concerning illegal downloads, as he concedes himself, there has already been a fair bit of activity in this area to no apparent effect. In fact, the continued diversification of the ways in which you can obtain music illegally if you want to implies the problem is a Hydra, in which every victory is negated by several new challenges.
While the law needs to be enforced, and the more flagrant abusers punished, we feel the only long-term solution to the problem of illegal filesharing is to make paying for music such a superior experience for consumers that they feel the benefits justify the cost.
Taylor is apparently not convinced, pinning his hopes on future legislation. "The growth in other, non-P2P methods of downloading music illegally is a concern, and highlights the importance of including a mechanism in the Digital Economy Bill to deal with threats other than P2P," he said.