Peer to peer site use has dropped significantly year on year in the US, according to the latest figures from market research firm NPD, which would suggest that piracy is also declining.

P2P technology is the beating heart of piracy, allowing people to upload any file, including movies and music, and disseminate them across the internet.

The technology is, of course, also used to transfer files that are not breaking any rules at all, and a good proportion of modern piracy uses streaming and downloads that are not shown in the figures.

Marked decline

However, with P2P sites seeing a marked decline, it follows that piracy should also be dropping away.

NPD suggests that P2P use in the US has fallen from 16 per cent of all US internet owners to just 9 per cent in the past three years.

The data, from Q4 2010, also suggests that the average number of downloads is falling – from an average of 35 per quarter in 2007 to 18 per quarter in 2010.

It's not the most scientific way of analysing piracy levels, but it does appear to fly in the face of a report from music trade body the IFPI (PDF) which suggests the industry will "struggle to survive" unless something is done about it.

Via Ars Technica