Piracy of the Media
The use of the internet to download and share music files is a very controversial issue. This topic is especially of interest to me because I download music quite frequently. To get a better look at how frequently students do this, and whether or not they feel it is ethical, I decided to conduct a survey. I conducted a ten question survey of twenty freshmen students. Distributed in Hanson Hall, and all freshmen dorm, the survey was very straightforward and asked questions dealing with how often students used file-sharing programs and whether or not they felt it was ethical to do so. Other questions dealt with alternative options to downloading music and the legal action that ensues doing so.
After conducting the survey, I came to the expected conclusion that the majority of students download music regularly. All but one of the students surveyed stated that they download music off a P2P (people to people) file-sharing program. Several people also, however, admitted that they felt that the piracy of music online is unethical. These were people who also said that they download music regularly. Their response as to why they continue to compromise their integrity was based on the fact that they did not feel that the record labels or the individual artists themselves were actually being adversely affected. In their minds, their downloading and sharing of this music is only helping the music industry, especially up-and-coming bands who are trying to develop a name for themselves. Instead of handing out promo CD’s, they can simply upload their music onto the internet and circulate their music that way; a much more inexpensive and effective method. For example, I had not heard of the band Good Charlotte until I was sent some of their music by a friend of mine. Soon I began to notice their music more frequently online. Before long, their music covered the radio airwaves and their top songs claimed highly-coveted spots on the MTV show TRL. This particular show, run by audience votes, proves that Good Charlotte had claimed a strong support, and had the internet to thank.
Continuing on the ethicality of file-sharing, I found an interesting trend based on gender. Females, consisting of half the survey, while still downloading music as often as males, were the only ones to admit that they felt it was immoral to share music online. Similarly, females were the only ones that showed any sign that they felt these programs were hurting the music industry. These feelings did not come out of their responses on the survey, but in the brief discussion that I had with them after they finished the survey. None of the males that took the survey said that the felt guilty or immoral for downloading music. They all felt that the industry was rich enough as it is and that they were not hurting it by downloading several songs a week.
Only one student who took the survey said that they do not download or share files of any sort...