Mp3 Controversy. Essay

1592 words - 6 pages

MP3 ControversyThe MP3 controversy is one of the most controversial issues pertaining to the popular usage of the Internet. The Internet and its abusive ability to distribute free music (MP3's) effectively and easily is a controversial issue that has created a huge stir in the music industry. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is furious at the fact that millions of people around the world are downloading MP3's off the Internet, and creating their own music CD's. They believe that this is the main cause of the decrease in album sales of the past few years.What is MP3? MP3 is short for, MPEG1 (Moving Picture Experts Group 1) Audio Layer 3. MP3 is an audio compression file format that was discovered from a single layer (3) of audio compression from the MPEG1 technology. The MP3 compression technique compresses at a 12:1 ratio, which is considered an extremely high ratio for compression technology. So, the size of a high sound quality audio file of a full-length track from a music CD would be around 40 - 50 megabytes (depending on how long the song is) without any compression. This huge file takes up a lot of storage space on a computer's hard drive and would be inconvenient for people to download just one song. Internet users with a slow connection would take hours to complete a download and broadband users in minutes. MP3 compresses those files down to a size of under 5 megabytes, while maintaining the same high-sound quality from music CD's. In contrast, MP3's can be downloaded in minutes, or even seconds!So, what's up with all the controversy surrounding MP3 files? Aren't they just high sound quality audio files that are compressed into much smaller files? Well, yes they are, which makes them much easier to share and download over the Internet. Using MP3 compression, people are transferring their songs from their music CD's to their computers for convenient listening of their music. With all the MP3's on millions of computers all over the world, people wanted to share their MP3's over the Internet. We used to have to use a program called IRC (Internet Relay Chat). IRC allows users to chat and transfer files. People would set up servers on IRC to share their MP3's with other users. If you wanted a particular song, you had to physically search each of these servers to see if it has the song you're looking for. This was inconvenient because there were thousands of servers, and so many different songs, that you rarely would find a server with the song you're looking for. Even if you did find the song, it must have taken you a long time to find, not to mention that if somebody was already downloading from that server, you have to wait for him/her to finish. Also, there could be people that are also waiting, so you would be literally waiting in a line, just to download that one song.Shawn Fanning, at the age of 19, used IRC (and many others) to download his MP3's. His college roommates wanted a way to swap their MP3's, so Fanning got...

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