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The record industry's battle against illegal file sharing is continuing, with the industry claiming it is winning the war.

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), illegal file-swapping is being "contained". The industry group says illegal file trading is now flat, while legitimate digital downloads are thriving.

RIAA chief executive Mitch Bainwol made the somewhat optimistic comments, adding that although CD sales continued to slip - something that file sharers have been blamed for in the past - legal digital downloads were up some 77 per cent.

In the past, the recording industry has blamed digital music and illegal downloads for the slump in CD sales. However, this was in direct contrast to a number of reports that claimed file sharers purchased more music, not less.

To be sure, the recording industry has won a number of high profile victories against file sharing services. In November, a US Federal Court ordered Kazaa to block some 3,000 keywords from its service, including songs from artists such as Eminem, Kylie Minogue and Madonna.

A number of services, including Grokster, have also disappeared from view after courts took a dim view of claims that the companies were not responsible for the actions of their users.

Some of the former file-swapping services have since developed into legitimate businesses, such as Napster, while legal downloading services like Apple's iTunes continue to prove extremely successful.

In 2005, sales of legally downloaded music trebled, providing record companies with more than $1.1bn in revenues, according to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry's (IFPI) Digital Music Report 2006.

In Ireland, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has already moved against serial file sharers, filing a number of cases against those who uploaded vast amounts of music to peer-to-peer networks.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has targeted some 2,000 file-sharers across 10 countries throughout Europe in an attempt to stop copyright infringement in its tracks.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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