Napster's legal problems are attracting people to its Web site, according to an online survey.

According to a NetValue study, the controversial music-distribution site logged about 3 million unique visitors in May.

That’s a rise of 1.4 million from April (1.6 million), and completely dwarfs the site's 524,000 unique visitors in February, says Meaghan FitzGerald, associate research director at NetValue.

Music now People don't seem worried about the possible legal ramifications of using Napster's software, FitzGerald says. Computer users want the latest music and technology, and Napster is finding increased success despite the negative buzz generated by an ongoing suit filed by the Recording Industry Association of America.

NetValue claims 35 per cent of Napster's visitors fall in the 15- to 24-year-old age group. Another 28 per cent of Napster's visitors are in the 25- to 34-year-old age group, a group highly prized by advertisers, according to industry observers.

Students Despite many colleges’ attempts to bar students from the site, 40 per cent of Napster’s users are students.

FitzGerald sees Napster's increasing Web traffic as a clear sign, she says: "Eventually the recording industry will have to accept Napster." Whether it's Napster or something comparable, technology won't stop just because the record labels don't like it, she adds.

NetValue began tracking Web site traffic in the United States in February. It compiles its figures through a formula that includes a large panel of randomly selected Web surfers combined with numerous phone surveys.