Millions of Australians have obtained music illegally via CD burning and file sharing, a survey released by the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) claims.
Conducted by Quantum Market Research for ARIA, the survey researched CD burning and Internet file sharing and their effect on the Australian music industry.
According to the survey, 3.6 million Australians illegally burned a music CD in the six months prior to the survey. The survey was conducted from January to February and is based on 1001 telephone interviews with people aged 10 years or over across Australia.
While the survey did not provide a six-month figure for file sharing, it said around 1.8 million Australians had illegally downloaded music files in one month. The number of Australians who had ever used file sharing services totalled 3.5 million, it said.
Users of these services downloaded an average of 19.6 files a month, the survey said. Of these users, 21 per cent were broadband subscribers.
There had also been a 12 per cent decrease in CD purchasing among this file sharing group, the survey said.
The survey also found the level of music piracy among the under-25 age group to be almost twice as high as in the general population. That is, 22 per cent of the general population (all age groups) had been involved in CD burning, compared to 40 per cent in the under-25 age group.
However, 49 per cent of those surveyed in the 10-24-year bracket were unaware of the legality of CD copying and file sharing.
The results also found CD burners had been used by 22 percent of Australians to record music in the surveyed six months.
ARIA chief executive Stephen Peach said the levels of CD burning and file sharing in Australia were "significant", and weakened the local and international music industries.
ARIA said initiatives to combat music piracy included online business models, consumer education, technological solutions and litigation.