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The Era Of Internet Piracy Essay

2085 words - 8 pages

Entertainment today is mainly provided though a digital spectrum. Purchasing and streaming videos and music off of sites like Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and ITunes, are some the ways of acquiring digital media legally. Production companies and record labels are making a great deal of money in today’s society; but with unauthorized peer-to-peer systems illegally downloading music and movies, there is a dramatic change in the potential profit for these industries. The RIAA claims (Recording Industry Association) “that more than 2.6 billion files of music were illegally downloaded every month on unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) systems" (Roda, 2003). Companies are trying to protect copyright infringement by implementing digital encryption technologies and strict laws that prohibit tampering these encryptions.

The Beginning
The era of internet piracy began in May of 1999 when a college student founded a website called Napster that allowed users to upload and download music for free through connected computer networks. "In the first four months of its initial release, Napster hosted roughly 1 million users" (Bach). After one year, however, the service became so popular that the Napster community expanded to an unprecedented 20 million users. Though it was eventually charged for copyright infringement and lost a series of legal battles, Napster had already introduced the world to internet piracy. "Napster, in just two years, caused the music industry, specifically in compact disc sales, to steadily lose roughly $500 million in revenue in each preceding year" (Bach). The damage that these rogue websites have done to the entertainment industry by promoting and hosting file sharing services has been catastrophic. In the fifth annual global piracy study by the Business Software Alliance, BSA discovered that in 2007, “Worldwide, for every two dollars’ worth of software purchased legally, one dollars’ worth was obtained illegally" (BSA). In the United States music industry, "the NPD group reported that only 37% of music acquired by consumers in 2009 was paid for" (RIAA). If there is no payout, producers have less incentive to quickly develop new content.

The Law
Recording industries are on a constant struggle to protect their products from digital pirating. As a result, these industries have taken legal steps to receive justice and protect their product, from people who download illegal files through peer-to-peer systems. One of the major ways to bring justice for illegal acquisition of music, movies, and software is to file lawsuits. For example Brian Garrity, author of The world of digital music: States how “the major labels and their retail and technology partners are fighting back, pursuing a myriad of judicial, legislative, technological and commercial strategies designed to prevent the average consumer to stop taking free music from the web" (Garrity, 2002). This article elaborates on the many methods and procedures used by industries to...

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