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Economy, not P2P, hurting CD sales

In response to the August 28 news story by John Borland, "RIAA site comes under second attack":

Addressing a quote from the article: "The (RIAA) says Net piracy has badly cut into legitimate sales, and this week released a report that said CD sales for the first six months of 2002 were down 7 percent from 2001. Online music trading was largely responsible for undermining those sales, the group contended."

I'd like to see solid proof of this. There's really no question that downloading music may not increase CD sales in general. But I'd really like to see an independent research report actually prove that online file trading is directly responsible for the decline in sales, rather than other factors like, I don't know--the economy, maybe?

Thousands upon thousands of people losing their jobs or taking salary cuts couldn't possibly have anything to do with a 7 percent year-to-year drop in CD sales, not to mention rampant piracy in overseas markets such as China. It would be interesting to see a report that separates losses caused by CD bootlegging abroad and by file trading. But then, I guess the RIAA isn't in the business of furnishing unbiased reports. Coincidentally, didn't the RIAA publish a report not long ago that attributed the majority of the drop to a decline in overseas sales?

I guess everyone in the U.S. isn't a pirate after all.

David Young
Chapel Hill, N.C.