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Mp3 Piracy Essay, Research Paper

In this digital world, the idea of obtaining any materialistic pleasures with a computer is simply amazing to me. It initiates an already growing problem with scarcity and unlimited wants. The fact that everyone with a computer could have free music all the time is quite appealing? Of course, as with anything else, there are limits to what enjoyment we can have by suggesting that we are being morally judged. This seems to be the hidden question behind all the other piracy-related jargon. MP3 piracy and the moral fibers that bind us together are changing our lives right in front of us, while technology is bringing us closer realizing it. Those who produce intellectual property and those who benefit from it are currently debating the implications it may have on the future of online music. There are basically two sides to the issue.

On the one hand, there are those corporate monsters that scream copyright infringement and push with litigation. The recording industry, for the most part, suggests that it is wrong to copy works from others and perhaps return profits for them. This is the basic notion that ideas have value. The primary concern for these people is the lack of revenue from the sale of music albums in stores. They encourage legislation for the sole purpose of protecting their own interests. They don?t agree with web sites distributing free music files of which have copyright protection. Moreover, the record industry is investing in new media venture, and seeking partners, to develop online music services for its consumers. This may indeed be the unbalancing of the arguments because they have more influence over government decisions than do the consumers. They can advise governments on the laws needed to protect artists and their creations.

In contrast, there are those consumer groups that feel it is a good way to promote little-known artists? music, thus becoming the springboard for their shot at success. The same could be said of struggling artists, as well. Those artists that lost their appeal to the changing of society could promote their contribution to the industry, perhaps giving them another shot. For example, a recent Spin article stated that 30% of long-time struggling artists have gradually regained recognition as a result of free access to their music. Therefore, listeners could sample their music for free and decide if they have made some sort of comeback, not to mention whether or not they are worth the inflated prices of album-length CDs. These people, concerned with corporate price fixing, feel that listeners could hear particular songs and not have to pay full price for an album that may have only two or three songs that appeal to them. This is what you call self-interest. The concern would have to be whether there is profit sharing going on or not, such as resale of copyrighted songs. This would be the illegal aspect of this issue. However you judge this issue, both sides, both arguments hold water.

News Summary

As discussed earlier, the particular Spin article I came across, among many others, focused on the future of the recording industry and the subsequent effects it will have on consumer activity. The article suggests, for all intensive purposes, that the decision to accept or reject the issue should be based on intent rather than simply the act of downloading the copyrighted music, as well as the distribution of the necessary devices. It further predicts the fate of the music industry not being overrun as a result of Internet sharing, but rather as an assisting device to promote and eventually helping to sell the music. It suggests, for example, a possible way that the record companies could still turn a profit such as the concept of pay-per-view. This consists of the record companies charging a fee to web sites that have MP3 distribution software. The point that this article was trying to make was that there would have to be a trade-off so as not to force the consumer market to make such rash decisions like music piracy. The music industry will eventually further itself into the age of the music single, thus providing songs individually and allowing consumer to compile song libraries selectively.


Foremost among the primary industry groups battling MP3 sites is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). These are the people responsible for encouraging mostly high school and college students that MP3 piracy is illegal and morally wrong. They barricade the web sites that distribute copyrighted music and push for legislation banning the use of MP3 devices and distribution programs. Since 1998, when they first sued Diamond Multimedia for their manufacture of the Rio MP3 player, the RIAA preaches copyright infringement and has pursued a dozen court battles. They have even begun to influence universities with their so-called “Soundbyting” campaign, which aims to persuade students not to download music because they may be subjected to serious penalties resulting in fines and prison. In addition to the RIAA and its domestic jurisdiction, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is the Interpol of the Internet. They are the international organization responsible for global copyright protection and enforcement. The basically fight overseas piracy by encouraging governments to identify and warn infringers. The IFPI mainly targets illegal CD manufacturing plants and develops automated anti-piracy technologies for the Internet. As with the RIAA, the IFPI also engages in litigation against violations.

The consumer-sponsored mp3.com is a good example of an organization solely responsible for acquiring consumer appreciation. Mp3.com has fought a few court battles in the past and has come to terms with the relentless pursuits of the recording industry. They have tried to rationalize with the industry groups only to be cast into the spotlight. More recently, the mp3.com organization has agreed to offer digital music services to up-and-coming labels and artists for generous revenues and profit sharing alternatives. They themselves have begun to decrease the possibilities of copyright infringement on both their own site and those of their affiliates. They are responding to the witch-hunts by the RIAA by developing anti-piracy technologies and secure downloading. They are also seeking partnerships with other industry groups to successfully realize these anti-piracy initiatives.

The government has


Foege, Alec. “Beyond Napster: The Future of Digital Music.”

Spin Magazine. Vol. 16, No. 9. Pp. 47-54.

Stein, Joel. “Right & Wrong.”

Time Digital Magazine. August 2000. Pp. 29-33.

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