To Download Or Not To Download: Music Piracy

1094 words - 4 pages

One of the most controversial topics in today?s entertainment industry is piracy. Because of advances in technology such as the internet, peer-to-peer networks, and CD burners, downloading and copying music is a readily available possibility to almost everyone who owns a computer. This hotly-debated topic has tempers flaring on both sides of the issue and has even warranted the attention of the federal government. If the situation was better handled by the recording industry and the government, however, the new technologies could lead to an improved scenario for artists and consumers. Downloading music from the internet is an inevitable result of current advances in technology and should be legal.One of the strongest arguments in support of freer usage laws for music is the fact that the technology used for copying music and creating CDs is so ubiquitous. The internet is in the vast majority of households in the nation, and most if not all new computers purchased today include a software package that allows for the creation of CDs from mp3 files. With P2P?or peer to peer?networks readily available, users can easily search for and download music within minutes. P2P networks not only allow users to download music from others but also enable them to upload the music they currently have to other users. Every day, thousands and even millions of files are shared between users; one statistic from Washingtonpost.com claims that ?in January alone, file swappers traded more than 1 billion tracks over the most popular networks, according to Atlanta-based Big Champagne LLC, a company that tracks file-sharing activity? (McGuire paragraph 11). The technology is so widespread that it is virtually impossible to regulate: ?Digital-music fans go wherever there?s software that lets them get their mp3 files. Short of suing 70 million-plus people for encrypting every CD and DVD sold (and unlikely scenario), it?s hard to imagine how to stop it? (Warner 130). The recording industry?s fight against these technologies seems ineffective, especially considering that this is simply a repetition of their attitude towards other technologies that we consider commonplace today: ?The recording industry has objected to every new consumer reporting technology?including VCRs and tape recorders?but each new technology has ultimately helped artists by enabling more people to hear their work? (Ian 31). Simply the fact that so many people use readily available file-downloading and disc-burning technology is one major reason why music sharing should be made legal.Another argument for the legalization of file sharing is that downloading music actually brings profits to individual artists and the music industry as a whole. Opponents of file sharing?particularly the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA?use this as their primary argument: music piracy is destroying the recording industry. This claim is simply not true and is refuted even by people within the music business:...

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