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Up to seven million British broadband users download files illegally, an investigation has shown.

A report disclosed by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property (SABIP), as seen by the BBC, reveals that as much as half of all downloaded content infringes copyright.

The SABIP also expressed concern for future developments, claiming that broadband connections of 50Mb or more will exacerbate the issue.

David Lammy, Intellectual Property Minister, told the news service that the consultation contextualised the affect of copyright infringement on the entire UK economy.

"This is not an issue confined by national boundaries and I am sure that other [European Union] member states and their copyright industries will find this report of use in the development of policy," he said.

Figures published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry earlier this year showed that 95 per cent of all music downloads made in 2008 were illegal.

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