A Closer Look Into Music Piracy
Whether it’s your younger cousin listening to the newest nursery rhyme CD on the drive to kindergarten or the noisy neighbor blasting heavy metal from his or her stereo, just about everyone enjoys listening to some form of music. Music is powerful. In the past music has been controversial due to some artist’s subject matter or their appearance. But recently a new debate is taking place, and it has nothing to do with the music itself, but the way in which it is being distributed. Music piracy has been a great concern in the last decade as music lovers across the globe have begun to share music without purchasing it from the rightful owners, and while this is viewed as a negative effect of recent technology, music piracy should be tolerated because it has many positive effects for musicians as well as the music industry as a whole.
Music has defined eras and shaped cultures, seamlessly uniting different people together for a common purpose. Music is usually used as a form of entertainment, but it has served many other purposes as well. Some medical practices have offered music therapy to help patients overcome obstacles in their lives. Others have used its powers to make political statements, such as songs that protest war and government action. No matter what someone’s age or background might be, it is a safe assumption that just about everyone enjoys some genre of music. And it is even more pleasurable when it is free.
Music piracy can be defined simply as the illegal sharing of music. Piracy is made possible by host websites which create a ground for internet users to upload and download music files to one another without having to pay. Music has evolved from vinyl records to tapes to CDs and most recently, Mp3s. But the days of going to a store to purchase physical copies of music have been replaced by online websites such as Itunes.com, which allow consumers to purchase electronic copies of music which can then be transferred to an Mp3 player or a CD. The internet has revolutionized the way music is consumed and websites like Limewire.com and Thepiratebay.se have emerged to allow people to illegally share music free of charge.
This all came about in the late 1990s, just as personal computers and the internet became a common household commodity. The internet was in its infancy stages, and many laws were not yet in effect to put a stop to sites that acted as a host for users to share music with one another without abiding to copyright laws. Napster.com, deemed as the “Original Gangsta” ("The History Of Internet Piracy."), was one of the frontrunners to establish a host website to allow people from all over the world to share music with no strings attached. But the joys of this website and others were soon to be contested by the corporate world.
The Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA for short, was quick to put a stop to this and “Napster was slapped with a copyright infringement lawsuit...