Illegal downloads £120bn says report

Illegal downloading levels have hit record levels and are costing the UK economy and media owners £120 billion (E137bn) a year, according to a government advisor group. Its research apparently shows that seven million people in the UK are regularly downloading music and other content from illegal sites, according to The Strategic Advisory Board For Intellectual Property.

The report said that higher broadband speeds was contributing to the increased levels and that on one weekday alone during the survey, some 1.3 million people used one file-sharing network to download illegal content.

David Lammy, the intellectual property minister, said: “This is not an issue confined by national boundaries and I am sure that other European Union member states and their copyright industries will find this report of use in the development of policy.”

The intellectual property thinktank reckons between 44 and 79 percent of global internet traffic is file-sharing, with the problem worse in eastern Europe than the USA. The SABIP paper Copycats? warns: "The scale of the problem is huge and growing."

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