Illegal downloading is causing billions of dollars in financial loses to the music industry every year. "In the decade since Napster emerged, music sales in the U.S. have dropped 47 percent, from $14.6 billion to $7.7 billion. From 2004 through 2009 alone, approximately 30 billion songs were illegally downloaded on file-sharing networks” ("Students"). In 1999, Napster hit the scene with a peer-to-peer file sharing application that transformed the world. Within a year, millions of people were trading songs from a simple download.
The increases of piracy and hacking have caused negative effects on the economy and society of the world. First of all, the increasing numbers of piracy and hacking are contributed by not knowing that the people are actually committing an illegal activity, and the results are unexpected, harsh punishments. To begin, computer hacking is defined as “the practice of modifying computer hardware and software to accomplish a goal outside of the creator’s original purpose” (“What is Computer Hacking?”). An example of hacking that most people do not know about is Jailbreaking an Ipod. Jailbreaking allows the product to be independent from the creators, in this case, Apple.
Also, what makes a certain piece of software legal in one country but illegal in another? In the US, 321 Studios had to stop making its famous DVD XCopy program, but why and was the software ethical?  All these issues will be covered as well as how ethical the laws are in the respective countries as well as whether or not downloading or copying music is ethical at all. Piracy Laws in the US Downloading Copyrighted Music The biggest issue of piracy in the US lately has been the illegal downloading of music off of the Internet with popular programs such as Kazaa and iMesh. Millions of people have been downloading their music for free rather than paying for it for many years now.
The internet is an unregulated and chaotic environment that is only loosely governed by social norms that have been established by the more well-respected users leading the rest over many years. The anonymity of these billions of users allows them to break these rules and conventions with little risk of negative consequence. One of the biggest problems that stems from this is the pirating of media. Internet pirates will make media such as movies, television shows, and music available on websites such as The Pirate Bay, where users can download this content this free. This system takes money away from creators and designers and gives it to the advertisers on pirating websites.
In the past two decades, the music industry has been and still is facing a major battle against online piracy and trying to make successful baby steps towards recovery. As a result of this illegal activity conducted allegedly or not, led the recording and distributing companies into economic shock. As stated in 2011 Frontier Economics article, in 2008 “the total commercial value of global music piracy was estimated at close to $40 billion” (qtd. in Stop the Music!). In fact, as reported in International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) Digital Music Report in 2008, “in the United States alone, the economic impact to the music industry-in terms of lost revenue-has been estimated at $3.7 billion annually” (qtd.
Internet Music Sharing and the RIAA In today’s high-tech computer savvy world, one of the largest controversies brewing on the internet is the downloading and sharing of music using various peer-to-peer programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, Audio Galaxy, and many others. These programs use software that, “rather than going through a server to request information, can make requests directly to other software. This attribute is what allows users of P2P networks to freely exchange music, movies and other types of files (Friedenberg).” To the everyday user, downloading all of their music from the internet is great. Who wouldn’t want to be able to get the newest Radiohead CD months before it comes out in stores and for free? However, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) doesn’t find sharing music over the internet to be quite as appealing; in fact, according to the RIAA’s official website, they have begun launching their first of what could potentially be thousand’s of civil lawsuits against users of these peer-to-peer programs.
Many people see downloading copyright files such as music, movies, books, and software as illegal. Music files, some of the first types of files to be reproduced and distributed through internet sources, contain the file extension .mp3. Several popular file sharing programs were developed in the 1990s and facilitated internet piracy. Big industries try to combat file sharing to help increase their revenue, however internet piracy actually increases revenue of industries and has numerous other benefits (What Is Internet Piracy?). The copy and distribution of digital files increased due to technology (Torr).
As much as the record business would like to have the public believe that computer-based music technology would forever ruin music, quit the opposite is true. With the popularization of the MP3 format a few years back came a renewed interest into listening to music. One of the great advantages of the Internet was that it allowed for almost immediate access to information instantaneously. If a song had been recorded, then there was a good chance it could be found on the Internet. The MP3 format allowed listeners to check out new artists and allowed for people to sent songs to each other of artists they thought should be heard.
A man gets a choice between downloading an album for free, with a click of a button or driving down to a music store and paying $15 for the same album, and running the risk of not finding that album at all. What will choose? In 1999, Sean Parker, John Fanning and Shawn Fanning developed a website called ‘Napster’ which first introduced us to the most important aspect of music piracy in the modern world, called the Internet. Free music was being shared through means of Internet and technology, and I strongly believe that this was the beginning of the still growing effects of music piracy. Music piracy can be defined as the copying and distributing of copies of a piece of music for which the composer, recording artist, or copyright holding record company did not give consent.
The development of the internet, broadband, MP3, and then the different ways to share music with each other create... ... middle of paper ... .... (2004). The RIAA is behind the times. Retrieved 14.9, 2004, from http://www.yale.edu/yfp/archives/feb04/feb04_riaa.html Green, H. (2004). Downloads: The Next Generation; Music merchants are trying new ways to make an honest buck off the Internet. Business Week, 1(3870), 64.