Sharing Music over the Internet

Sharing Music over the Internet

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In a report prepared by Arbor Networks, a network-management firm employed by over 70 percent of the top ISPs globally, peer-to-peer sharing has reached more than 60 percent of the net traffic in the year 2012. Peer-to-peer sharing and piracy websites allow internet users to download music, videos and programs without having to pay for them. Technically, this is described by the law as stealing which makes peer-to-peer sharing and piracy websites illegal. Moreover, the government, through the enforcement of certain laws, imposes discipline to its citizens with regard to downloading and sharing music over the internet.
Copyright Infringement
The Department of Justice of the U.S. government presented a report Task Force on Intellectual Property which clearly imparts the laws protecting intellectual properties of individuals. As stated in the report, an intellectual property is an intangible property which is expressed through ideas and inventions. Copyright is intended to protect these intellectual properties including music—its lyrics and composition.
Through the Copyright Act, the creator is given exclusive rights which encompass credit until after 70 years from death and the option of distribution. In peer-to-peer sharing and free downloads where music is used commercially in the internet, copyright is violated. In fact, as the shown in the statistics above, copyright infringement is practiced by millions in just one day. Probably, these people do not know and fully understand the laws and the penalties such as fines and imprisonment if they commit copyright infringement.
The music industry, as represented by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has gone procedures in fighting both copyright infringement and piracy. Accordingly, as shown in the report of Arbor Networks, the overwhelming 40 percent of net traffic that shares music through peer-to-peer connection has rapidly decreased to just 18 percent in the year 2009. RIAA has sued internet fans who commit infringement. Furthermore, the association has also presented piracy surcharges on ISPs which offer an upgrade to peer-to-peer connections for fast downloads at a fee, and websites which provide free searches and downloads for music.
Government’s Response
To stop piracy and copyright infringement, the Congress commenced the “Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2003”. As stated in this bill, the Congress appeals to the Department of Justice, along with the FBI, to involve their departments in discovering peer-to-peer file sharers and taking legal actions against them.

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Additionally, in quest for a stricter enforcement of copyright laws, the Congress also passed the bill “Author, Consumer and Computer Owner Protection and Security Act of 2003”. This bill states that uploading a single copyrighted music using a peer-to-peer connection can tantamount to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Works Cited

The United States Department of Justice: IP Task Force Report

Wired: Peer-to-Peer Passé, Report Finds

Wired: Music Industry Proposes a Piracy Surcharge on ISPs

The Rutherford Institute: Digital Media Sharing
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