Did Limewire shutdown really cause P2P music infringement to drop 30%?

On Copyfight, Alan Wexelblat picks apart the widely reported story that P2P music sharing dropped 30 percent when Limewire shut down — pointing out that the drop began two years ago, and Limewire only shut down three months ago. Alan's got some alternate hypotheses for the reported drop in file-sharing.

To cut NPD a small amount of slack here, they do admit that former LimeWire users are moving to other sharing networks. But really, this is just marketing puffery. NPD has no idea what caused the drop in self-reported file sharing over the past three years. Maybe it was that people thought it was an increasingly bad idea to admit that they used LimeWire to random marketers when there was a relentless stream of bad headlines about LimeWire.

Or maybe – and here I think is where there's an interesting story Sandoval might have written – people are sharing music by new means. Look, for example, at music-sharing via Twitter, or how about a video that's over a year old telling people how to share music on social networks?

I like TorrentFreak's take on this, too: if it's true that "music piracy" has dropped 30 percent, then we should have seen some sort of concomitant rise in music sales. And if there wasn't one, well, does that mean the music industry is wrong that "piracy" is the cause of its financial decline?

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