There has been some media buzz recently around the apparent drop in usage of file sharing networks as a result of the RIAA’s high profile action against individuals. The stories revolve around Internet audience measurement data apparently showing a decline in traffic.

It is highly likely that there had been some initial drop off, and that some of this will be residual. However, I would suspect that a large part of the decline is actually down to tech savvy file sharers among the measurement panels removing all ‘spy ware’ related materials from their computers. That includes the software meters that are installed by measurement companies to track usage and to compile the audience numbers. Many of the application fixes provide by Streamcast et al to protect the activities of their users may also cause problems for meters which haven’t been uninstalled. Although measurement companies would argue that the information tracked by them is confidential and would not be shared with a third party, they would be hard pushed to convince a paranoid file sharer trying to protect him or herself from pursuit by the RIAA…

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