NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - More than 17 million Americans have stopped downloading music over the Internet following a recent crackdown on the practice, according to a new survey.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project survey released Sunday found that 14 percent of adult Internet users said they had once downloaded music files but are no longer doing any downloading. That represents about 17 million adult Internet users.
But the number of Americans who said they are still downloading music increased to 23 million from an estimated 18 million in the four-month period between November 2003 and February 2004, the Pew report showed.
The survey, however, failed to specify if users downloaded music illegally or purchased songs through authorized Web sites, such as Apple Computer's iTunes.
A third of the former music downloaders -- close to 6 million users -- said they have turned away from the practice because of the lawsuits brought against music file-sharers by the recording industry since last summer, the survey said.
In March, the Recording Industry Association of America announced an additional 532 lawsuits against Internet users accused of illegal file-sharing, bringing the total number sued to nearly 2,000 cases, the Pew survey said.
And while paid services are far from trumping the popularity of file-sharing networks, 17 percent of current music downloaders said they are using the paid services.
The report, citing online tracking company comScore Media Mextrix, said about 5 million fewer people are actively running the well-known free, music-swapping service, KaZaa, compared to November 2003.
But the comScore data showed modest growth in usage of some of the smaller file-sharing sites, such as iMesh, BitTorrent and eMule, since November.
The Pew Internet surveyed 1,371 adult Internet users between Feb. 3 and March 1, 2004.