Study: Most former Limewire users no longer pirating music

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Limewire had about 14 million U.S. users in September 2010, according to the RIAA. Based on that figure, the RIAA concluded that 9.5 million people stopped downloading pirated content after Limewire was shutdown.

It is unclear whether those users bought more content through legal sites like iTunes or Pandora. But the RIAA pointed to a study by research firm NPD Group that found an increase in the number if people buying legal music in 2011 and a decrease in people downloading music from pirate sites. 

"Our work is far from done, but the data does collectively show that anti-piracy measures can have real effects on the legal marketplace," wrote Joshua Friedlander, the RIAA's vice president of strategic data analysis.

"The single most important anti-piracy strategy remains innovation, experimentation and working with our technology partners to offer fans an array of legal music experiences. Results like these show, though, show that strategic enforcement is also necessary and do make a difference," he said.

The RIAA, along with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), was a chief backer of tough anti-piracy legislation that would have forced U.S. Web companies to cut off access to foreign pirate sites. 

The groups said the bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), were necessary to protect entertainment industry jobs and revenue. But a massive protest from Web companies including Google and Wikipedia that claimed the measures would stifle innovation and limit free speech forced Congress to pull the legislation in January.