HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 cc1625-6W
Sue Doughty

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what estimate she has made of the current and projected use of peer-to-peer file sharing home computer technologies with reference to the type of files exchanged and the volume of material exchanged; [188155]

(2) if she will provide an impact assessment of the growth of use of peer-to.peer file sharing home computer technologies for affected commercial sectors; [188156]

(3) if she will make a statement on her Department's strategy for the future public use of peer-to-peer file sharing home computer technologies. [188157]

Ms Hewitt

We believe that peer-to-peer file sharing activity currently involves music files more than other types of content, but this could change as broadband take-up increases. The British Phonographic Industry has published research indicating that 8.0 million people in the UK claim to be downloading music—with 92 percent. of them (7.4 million people) using illegal sites. In my reply of 19 April.2004,Official Report, column 69W, to a question asked by the hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant) about illegal downloading of music, we acknowledged the serious impact on our creative industries from illegal downloading of music and welcomed the positive steps recently taken by the music industry to promote the availability of legitimate music tracks on the internet.

We hope that the development of further imaginative ways of marketing digital content will be given greater impetus by recommendations in due course from the Creative Industries Forum on intellectual property, which was announced in a written statement by my right hon. Friend, the Minister for the Arts, on 19 July 2004, Official Report, column 2WS. In particular, we hope the forum will explore the opportunities presented by digital media to provide consumers with attractively priced, reliable and secure alternatives to illegal downloading.