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Play Legal campaign encourages consumers to stop illegal downloading

LONDON – The message about illegal music downloads is still not getting through as 77% of people who regularly download songs have used an illegal site at least once, according to new research.

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AOL has responded to the findings by launching its Play Legal Campaign to encourage legal online music downloads, after the survey by Ipsos Mori revealed that only 40% of UK consumers say that they understand the law.

Consumers will see the Play Legal logo on AOL along with relevant information on its online service and press ads in industry publications in the New Year.

Users will be given tips on how to get started, how to get connected, what types of devices you can use and where to go to download tracks without infringing the law.

Illegal file-sharing sites such as Limewire and Kazaa are still proving more popular than legal download sites, with 27% of those surveyed using Limewire compared to 20% for iTunes.

The survey also showed that 55% of people would not ban their children from downloading music illegally. Only 15% of people have followed the right side of the law and used legal download services and just over half had only used illegal download services.

Consumers who download illegally are being warned they may face court action, with some people already landing large fines. In March, parents of children who illegally swap music over the internet were warned that they could be fined £4,000.

At the time, British record labels said 23 people who shared thousands of tracks unlawfully were forced to pay compensation totalling £50,000.

Key music industry stakeholders such as the IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, the British Phonographic Industry, British Music Rights and EMI, are supporting the campaign.

Mike Clowes, director of online content at AOL UK, said: "It's certain to be a digital music Christmas this year, with digital players likely to be under a lot of trees. However, our survey shows that consumers are still unsure what constitutes an illegal download.

"We want to make sure that consumers have the information they need to make the most of all the fantastic legitimate online content and services out there, and understand why it's so important to play legal."

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