Intellectual Property and the Future of the Music Industry Essay

Intellectual Property and the Future of the Music Industry Essay

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Corruption, Conscience, and Copyright:
The Current State of Intellectual Property and the Future of the Music Industry

“Today’s pirates operate not on the high seas but on the Internet, in illegal CD factories, distribution centers, and on the street. The pirate’s credo is still the same--why pay for it when it’s so easy to steal? The credo is as wrong as it ever was. Stealing is still illegal, unethical, and all too frequent in today’s digital age. That is why RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America] continues to fight music piracy.” –

The human conscience is a powerful tool. And if you are like most Americans, you probably consider yourself to be a rather moral person, at least based upon your own morality, your own conscience. Chances are, however, that you have engaged in some form of illegal activity during your life: speeding down a familiar road, jaywalking across an empty street, driving with a broken blinker. Assuming you consider yourself to be of high moral stature, how does your conscience reconcile this? The answer: the unlawful does not always imply the unethical, and that which is illegal is not necessarily immoral.
Since the digital revolution in the 1990’s, the downloading of copyrighted music has skyrocketed. The Recording Industry Association of America, RIAA, has denounced music piracy, claiming that it is both illegal and immoral. And they drive a hard bargain, arguing the following:
1. Downloading music is against the law.
2. Downloading music betrays the songwriters and recording artists who create it.
3. Downloading music stifles the careers of new artists and up-and-coming bands.
4. Downloading music threatens the livelihood of the thousands of working people who are em...

... middle of paper ...


Blackburn, David. On-line Piracy and Recorded Music Sales. Dec. 2004.

CD Baby. Who/What are we?

Holahan, Catherine. Downloading Music’s New Deal. Business Week Online. Oct. 31, 2006. p8-8, 1p.

Leach, Eric and Henslee, Bill. Follow the Money: Who's Really Making the Dough? Nov. 1, 2001.

Lessig, Lawrence. The Limits of Copyright. June 19, 2000.,1902,16071,00.html

McCourt, Tom, and Burkart, Patrick. When Creators, Corporations and Consumers Collide: Napster and the Development of On-line Music Distribution. 2003. Sage Publications.
Music United. Why You Shouldn't Do It.

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