The Copyright Board of Canada conducted hearings today on the private copying levy. Included as part of the evidence was a major survey (not online at the moment) on music copying conducted for the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) by Reseau Circum. The CPCC, which counts CRIA General Counsel Richard Pfohl as one of its board members, has tracked music copying habits since 2001-02.

The headliner in the latest survey is that file sharing activity is in steady decline in Canada. The survey, conducted in June 2006, finds that just 14 percent of Canadians have downloaded music in the last 12 months, down from 15 percent in 2005, 19 percent in 2004, 21 percent in 2003, and 21 percent in 2002. It goes without saying that this finding comes despite the absence of lawsuits, the absence of copyright reform, and the continual (yet questionable) claims that Canada is a world leader in file sharing.

As expected, file sharing activity is higher in the younger demographics - 39 percent of 12-17 years olds have downloaded in the past 12 months, 29 percent of 18-25 year olds, 13 percent of those in 26-45 age bracket, and only 3 percent of those over the age of 46. Contrast those numbers with CRIA-commissioned Pollara data from earlier this year which misleadingly asked whether survey respondents had ever used file sharing services. Unsurprisingly, that question resulted in a positive response from 69 percent of 12-17 year olds and 64 percent of 18-25 year olds - numbers that provided CRIA with the opportunity to claim that file sharing continues unabated when in fact the numbers are shrinking.

Michael Geist - Survey Finds Declining P2P Usage in Canada


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