We have studied various and somewhat contradictory assessments that have been made by others considering the effect of music piracy on the internet on music sales and the cost of legally purchased music. These suggest that reliable evaluation of the relationship would be difficult. Moreover, my understanding is that much illegal file sharing on the internet is illegal private copying rather than piracy which further adds to the difficulty of an evaluation.
Although UK copyright law already provides strong protection for those who own rights in music, our implementation in the UK of the EU Copyright Directive will clarify these rights and introduce criminal offences for internet music piracy, that is wilful illegal transmission of music on the internet when conducted at least on a commercial scale. The increasing availability of legitimate music tracks on the internet should also assist in encouraging those engaged in illegal private copying to desist and the clarification of the law resulting from the Copyright Directive should enable the music industry to trade online with even greater confidence.