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Music fans are more likely to buy downloads if new legitimate ways of finding and trying them become available, it has been claimed.

James Bott, co-founder of legal music search engine CompareDownload.com, said there needs to be "more legal ways of sampling and tasting music" – in a structure that could help free internet service providers from some of their web policing responsibilities.

He was commenting after the government announced last week that users who persistently download illegal content could be cut off from the net.

This threat was intended to "send a message that filesharing is breaking the law whichever way you look at it", Mr Bott said.

However, he claimed such legislation must be combined with new ways of selling music to "encourage people to discover and download music legally".

According to independent thinktank Demos, people who download music illegally also spend almost twice as much a year buying it legitimately than those who do not use filesharing sites.

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