The number of people buying music online has doubled since last year, but illegal downloads are also on the up.

Research by NPD Group found that consumers purchased 25.9 million songs in March 2005. This is an increase of 52 per cent on the buying habits of a year ago, writes Forbes.

However, more than 242 million songs were downloaded illegally in March. This is a quarter more than this time last year.

Schoolyard piracy

Sony is testing a new anti-piracy scheme that targets "casual piracy". The company has released at least 10 commercial titles on discs that feature technology that makes it impossible to burn a burned CD.

Sony BMG president of global digital business Thomas Hesse told Cnet: "The casual piracy, the schoolyard piracy, is a huge issue for us. Two-thirds of all piracy comes from ripping and burning CDs, which is why making the CD a secure format is of the utmost importance."

The solution, which uses software from UK antipiracy specialist First4Internet, means that when tracks are ripped and burned from a copy-protected disc the DRM on the discs bars the burned CD from being copied.