Three quarters of UK computer users know the rules on illegal downloading of music, but the majority do not believe that the music industry is doing enough to persuade them why it is wrong, according to a survey.

In a survey of a thousand people conducted by Tiscali Music, a number of statistics surface, in what is a fairly small sample to draw sweeping conclusions from about the UK as a whole.

Tiscali, in conjunction with Drowned in Sound, found that 46 per cent of respondents use P2P software such as BitTorrent and LimeWire but more than half of those that do insist that they have never knowingly downloaded music illegally.

Illegal downloading

Perhaps most interestingly, Tiscali says that 'at least' 75 per cent of those surveys know that illegal downloading is wrong – 'but at least half don't think the music industry does enough to persuade them that illegal downloading is damaging (66% Tiscali, 63% iTunes and 47% DiS).'

"This means there needs to be a major change in attitude through education to ensure public peer pressure can achieve the sort of shift in behaviour equivalent to that of always wearing a seatbelt or making smoking in the workplace unacceptable," adds Tiscali.

But, in some good news for the music industry, 83 per cent of those surveyed insisted that they still pay for music, with even the so-called 'illegal downloading communities' still spending money on CDs (51% for tiscali.co.uk, 54% for iTunes and 69% for DiS).

Far from simple

Neal McCleave, Managing Director of Media Services at Tiscali says: "The research shows that music fans have a far from simple relationship with music and many see illegal downloading as either a way to explore new music they would never buy or as a way to try before they buy.

"There is clearly a distinct trend for people 'topping up' their paid music collection through free downloads. Only a hard core of about 15% said that they wouldn't stop and they downloaded illegally because they didn't want to pay.

"This doesn't have to be all negative news for the music industry: in fact, if people are not able to access tracks for free, it may well prevent them from discovering new music in the future."