Piracy In The Digital Age Essay

Submitted By msmith081
Words: 2601
Pages: 11

Piracy of the Digital Age When the word piracy is mentioned, the majority of people tend to think of large ships firing cannon balls at each other, and men with large hats and bad teeth. That image is, however, is greatly outdated. The average present-day pirate doesn’t steal gold or jewels, they steal digital files. The Recording Industry Association of America has described online pirating as: “You can’t see them coming; there’s no warning shot across your bow. Yet rest assured the pirates are out there…Today’s pirates operate…on the Internet, in illegal CD factories, distribution centers, and on the street” (Fisher). From the creation of the CD the music industry has battled for their artists’ work, not to mention all the people behind the screen that mix and market that music. In the present day crimes are committed everyday behind computer screens, the one crime that is not taken as seriously as it the other digital crimes is piracy. Digital piracy and file sharing should be made more aware of and the consequences should be carried out as justly and swiftly as if someone stole something physically. “There is no difference between pocketing a CD in a Tower Records and downloading copyrighted songs from Morpheus. Theft is theft” (Fisher). Before the creation of personal music devices such as CDs, records, or iPods; the only way to listen to music was the radio or playing the music physically. To be able to play the music in your home, people would purchase sheet music from vendors and the sheet music had copyrights attached to it giving credit to the artist and others that made it. Copyrights have been used as far back as three centuries when England enacted the world’s first modern copyright. It was called the “Act for the Encouragement of Learning”, it granted authors exclusive rights to print and reprint copies of their works for a length of fourteen years (Tehranian). “Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression” (U.S. Copyright Office). Even though copyrights rights are stated in the Constitution the offenders of this law are not taken seriously. Copyright infringement, the term applied to the act of breaking a copyright, should be taken as seriously as physical stealing. In this new digital age, where music is available everywhere not just the record store, record companies and CD producers are being affected more then ever by digital piracy. The real decline of the record industry was the development of the CD. Before the CD were used to privately play music, but to pirate records the person needed a press, which not many had access to. The CD led to CD burners, which were devices attached to a CD player or computer and it made a copy of the CD. When the development of digital files came to the light to be used in portable music players, mp3s or iPods, pirating became even easier. The irony of whole situation is that each new development made to promote the music industry only made stealing from it easier. The reason one of copyright infringements alternate names is peer-to-peer file sharing is because so many people do it. There are specific websites just for file sharing digital files of music and movies. There are established sites that have an online community of fans and musicians and the site is not aware or chooses to ignore copyright infringement. Universal Music Group has been in partnership with MySpace, which as recently become a music wheelhouse. UMG said that “The foundation of MySpace is its so-called ‘user-generated content.’ However, much of that content is not ‘user-generated’ at all. Rather, it is the ‘user-stolen’ intellectual property of others, and MySpace is a willing partner in that theft” (DiOrio). Most websites used for file sharing, however, are created for that specific purpose. Websites like limewire.com and bittorrent.com use software that enables file sharing. The