Piracy Essay

Submitted By bthayer1
Words: 1687
Pages: 7

The Effects Of Piracy On The Music Industry

Since the birth of the computer, people have partaken in many activities based on the web. Some positive, some negative, and some down right illegal. The most common incident of illegal activity online is through what some would call modern day piracy. The more accepted term used is file sharing, and it is just that: sharing files over the web, typically illegally. File sharing has been a controversy who’s legality has been frivolously debated since Napster in 1999. (Oberholzer) File sharing has been exaggerated to be an instrument of theft, thus leading to the downfall of the music industry. However, thanks to file sharing, users have been exposed to music they would have otherwise never known existed. File sharing of intellectual copyrights like music should be decriminalized, recognized by organizations such as the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) as a helpful tool for many artists, and be viewed as only a minor factor in the decline of the music industry instead of the leading cause. There are also other alternatives to file sharing where everyone leaves a winner. The RIAA has publicly stated that over the 6 year period, ranging from 2003 to 2009, it has lost more money in court costs than it has actually generated via the lawsuits against the citizens. (Mann) One could go as far as stating that if those funds could be applied to the economic crisis of the United States, it could have effectively lessened the impact that it is now facing. Currently, the fine can go up to $150,000 per song downloaded illegally. (HousePlanet) This is a terrible business model for a company to sue a client for that much for something that originally costs $0.99. The fact is, file sharing and piracy are here to stay. No matter how many lawsuits occur, file sharing networks will never close down; in fact they will continue to grow. Fans will always do a better job at making music available than the industry. (EFF) Most of history’s music is either no longer being copied, or has never been recorded in the first place. Yet you can find almost anything you want to listen to through P2P (peer to peer) networks. Piracy is not all about lawsuits and monetary compensation. However, it has a positive effect on the people who take part in pirating material and file sharing. Without piracy, it can be said that some artists would have never taken off or have been discovered by top labels. It can also be said that some artists would not have generated fans or sales because they would not have been discovered by their fans, who may have found it through piracy. Piracy is not only a helpful tool, but an underestimated one where its participants are prosecuted for an unethical and predominantly profitable practice. Each week, there are over a billion downloads of music files through file sharing. File sharing is big among youth, and more than 60 million Americans over the age of 12 have participated in illegal music downloading. (Oberholzer, Strumpf) In fact, in a survey done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2,755 musicians and songwriters were asked about this issue. (Sinrod) 35% stated that file sharing services are not bad for artists because they help promote and distribute the artists work, and only 23% of those artists said that file sharing is bad. (Sinrod) When asked about how file sharing had affected their careers, 37% said that file sharing has really made no difference, and 35% stated that file sharing has in fact helped their careers. Surprisingly, only 5% reported that file sharing hurt their music sales and careers. 83% of the respondents said that they have provided free samples of their music online. 35% of these artists have said that this practice has definitely helped their careers, but only 5% have stated that it has had negative effects. When asked about the threat that file sharing has on the industry, about one-third said there