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Swedish Music Biz Says 80-Percent Rise In Digital Sales Shows Piracy Is Waning

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Has the tide turned against bedroom P2P file-sharers in the music industry’s epic fight against piracy? The IFPI’s branch in Sweden — the home of illegal file-sharing — is reporting that Swedish music sales rose 18 percent in the first nine months of the year, after seven years of consecutive decline, following the introduction the anti-piracy IPRED law (via Of that increase, nine percent comes from a rise in physical sales, while a whopping 80 percent is attributed to digital revenue.

Just to be clear on the IFPI’s claim to have turned the tide on piracy: The group isn’t offering new data on the incidence of piracy. Rather, it is taking figures showing that legal music sales in Sweden are up, and then extrapolating from that to say that piracy must be decreasing there. Note: consumer research has shown that committed file-sharers tend to be music fans who spend more on legitimate music services than non-file-sharers. So it is possible that both digital-music sales and piracy are on the increase…

The Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) was introduced in April and threatened to make it easier for rights holders to hand over pirate’s IP addresses to the authorities. At first it appeared that the law had strengthened pirates’ resolve. But since then it’s been cited as the reason behind a 60 percent reduction in file-sharing in Sweden. And now the economic benefits of clamping down on BitTorrent culture are trickling through…

For many Swedes, piracy isn’t a deviant activity but entirely normal: the country even elected an MEP for the Pirate Party. But the pirates’ argument that their sharing of music, movies, audiobooks and much else is an unstoppable, harmless phenomenon has never been bought by the Swedish content industry and the Kopimi brigade’s bravado now rings a little hollow as evidence emerges that tough anti-piracy measures appear to have gotten people to share less and buy more.

The IFPI says the war isn’t over yet: “The increase in sales in Sweden, set against the backdrop of innovative new digital services and tighter copyright laws, is encouraging, (but) it is too early to say if Sweden has permanently turned a corner,” says CEO John Kennedy. Kennedy– and rightsholders everywhere — hopes that users will permanently switch from piracy to legal services…