The Costs for Free Music

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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. It didn't take long for Metallica to take legal action against Napster and to ban users from access. After the RIAA joined in with many other groups and bands filing numerous infringement suits, Napster was forced to shut down in 2001 (Mason). This opened the door; in the next few years, P2P networks and file sharing across the world grew exponentially. In 2002, many sites and applications like eDonkey, Kazaa, and Morpheus made pirating music easy. Bit Torrents shadowed soon after, and sites such as The Pirate Bay, Torrent Reactor and TorrentSpy became very popular. As file sharing grew, so did legal actions and the malware that infested these files. Experiencing the same fate as Napster, many sites were being shut down. In 2006, police raided The Pirate Bay and temporarily disabled their servers. It took the Swedish government three more years and in 2009, the members were fined and imprisoned for copyright infringement violations. Downloading music for free is very costly to the music industry; it violates domestic and international laws; and you become vulnerable to computer malware.

"As a consequence of global and U.S.-based piracy of sound recordings, the U.S. economy loses $12.5 billio...

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