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Music industry giants have no tolerance for sharing. On June 24, the Washington, D.C.-based Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued a stern warning to users of online file-swapping applications, like Kazaa and Morpheus, that they would be prosecuted if they did not stop sharing tunes. (See “Democritic,� page 38.) That threat seems to have had its intended effect. According to market research firm Nielsen//NetRatings, traffic for several popular file-sharing applications declined by as much as 16 percent following the RIAA announcement. Users of Kazaa, the most widely used swapping application, dropped to 5.6 million the week of July 6, down from 6.5 million in the week prior to the RIAA warning. Despite the threat of steep fines, however, Greg Bloom, a senior Internet analyst at Nielsen//NetRatings, says that file-sharing applications with millions of loyal users are not likely to be shut down anytime soon.

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