File Sharing

2576 Words11 Pages
Ethical Debate with Today’s Technology

You may have illegal content on your computer right now! File sharing has become a very large issue today in society even though it has existed for decades. It has been the recent advances in our technology that has made it main stream and in the eyes of the general public. File sharing today tests the limits of technology along with our ethics making it a fuzzy grey area.
When discussing file sharing's effect on society, first you should have a brief understanding about the terminology, technology, and methods that are used. File sharing in its simplest form is "anything that allows the swapping of files (audio, graphic, animation, etc) between users across a network."
The breakdown of file sharing can be lumped into two basic categories, physical and virtual.
Since the invention of the cassette tape, back in 1962 (, people have been transferring data. Friends would copy a tape they borrowed or purchased from another friend and the chain was never ending. When the camcorders started to get smaller and more affordable movies would be bootlegged from the theater and sold.
Technology today has changed immensely but still we find ourselves in the same habits of sharing. Friends can now burn CDs within 5 minutes and DVDs within an hour. The one thing that has changed is the ability to protect the media using encryption keys, water marks, and other Digital Rights Management (DRM) that prevents the media from being copied. The overall effect from this is the average person is left with the headache of not being able to do what they want with their own media, while the pirateer continues to hack and bypass security measures.
The biggest contributor to file sharing these days is through software using virtual media. Before with the virtual media, the only way you could get something was if someone you knew had it. Now with the power of the web a user can find what they want from anyone around the world.
The internet is probably the most basic form using websites and emails. One of the earliest forms of sharing came from Internet Chat Relay (IRC) which is still used today. IRC's initial use was for chat but users realized files could be stored on the servers hostin...

... middle of paper ...

...iles come from other US computers. A legal strategy that focuses mostly on the US is unlikely to change the supply of music files.
“Previous studies have relied on Surveys to assess the effect of the file sharing on the music sales. This is problematic because it is impossible to know if survey participants truthfully respond to questions about an illegal activity. This study is unique in that it uses data from file sharing servers, where the authors directly observed 1.75 million downloads during 17 weeks in the fall of 2002. Using statistical methods, they can then test if the sale of an album declines more strongly if that album is downloaded more often.”

So, even with the pros/cons, copyright laws, ethics, and facts; is file sharing an illegal crime, and one that deserves the heavy penalties as those serious crimes? Is it unethical to give a friend a copy of a favorite CD as a gift? To give something of yourself? Is file sharing an illegal infringement in the rights of the creator of those rights? Artist hasn’t loss money in CD sales due to file-sharing. The fact is that file sharing has increased sales of CD due to its popularity.

More about File Sharing

Open Document