MP3 File Sharing Hurts America
Before the present time of computers and various media player technology, trading music files on the internet was practically unheard of. Today MP3 music files have become file format that is widely “swapped” over the internet. The problem with trading MP3's is that it violates copyright laws. However, this hasn’t stopped the tens of millions of file sharing software users who continue swap MP3’s. MP3 piracy is a costly business for many companies, and the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of “P2P” file sharing. File sharing is a costly, illegal practice that hurts not only the consumers, but the artists as well.
MP3 is a relatively new form of piracy, only being around for about ten years. The fact that the MP3 format takes up as little as one megabyte for a one minute clip, makes it an attractive storage factor for pirates. And with the CD-R and CD-RW drives, people can convert MP3 files to common CD format, burn to a CD, and play in any CD player, and be listening to a mix of their favorite songs within a half hour of downloading the song. With MP3 players becoming more and more popular options in cars, you can burn MP3 files directly to a CD without converting to a standard audio file and have over six hours of music on a single CD!
“It is estimated that such illegal product costs the music industry more than 300 million dollars a year domestically.” This is why the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is taking a strong stance against MP3 piracy. The damage done to the recording industry in lost profits, increased prices, and lost jobs is overwhelming. In an attempt to put a damper on file swapping, and recapture lost revenue the RIAA has been suing people who are swapping files. The chances of being caught are increasing greatly, with several anti-piracy organizations hunting down offenders and holding them responsible for their swapping practices.
“The Recording Industry Association of America has sued 1,445 people since September, with the latest batch of 531 coming this month against people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, Orlando, Florida, and Trenton, New Jersey. Most of the earlier cases have been settled, for an average of $3,000 each.” According to Mitch Bainwol, the chairman and chief executive for the RIAA, the record two million songs legally sold last week mostly on iTunes and Napster, prove the lawsuits are educating users. He still believes that “the faucet is still absolutely on; I just think that the flow may have been slightly limited.”
However, I’d like to point out, that he cases that have been settled for $3,000 got a deal. According to the RIAA website, online copyright infringement can be punished...