Should music sharing/copying be illegal?

  Tags: law   music   society   technology   business   entertainment   copyright   file sharing   infringement   music   music downloading


This debate is about the sharing and copying of music in which others (such as friends) who have not paid, also listen to the music. There is a separate debate on whether [a url=http://deb8.us]personal archival copies of media should be legal[/a].

[h]Relevant Sub-debates[/h]

[hh]The Sounds of Music[/hh]

The issue of sharing music and or downloading music from the Internet has become a hot topic with no easy answers. Piece of the problem lies in the fact that technology is starting to fuse itself with everyday living. For example, many people can watch television on their phones. To the Internet, music is just another file and the question is who owns that file? Once music made it to the Internet there was no looking back because the computer has become his versatile and useful as driving a car. In fact, people use their computers more than their cars but the problem is the problem of rights.

[hh]What is file sharing?[/hh]

Online file sharing is becoming more popular because it can be a cost effective way of gaining access to information (which includes music) otherwise not available to the individual. When consumers are connected to file sharing programs they can access other applications, documents, photos, music, anything that is in the public domain is shared. Unlike downloading, file sharing music stays on the website and is not copied to your personal hard drive.

[hh]Why mention file sharing?[/hh]

A user may unknowingly allow others to copy either files they never intended to share where they may download material that is protected by the copyright laws and find themselves mired in legal issues. File sharing users may also download a virus or am wittingly download pornography labeled as something else. So file sharing and downloading both have the downside and must be considered in part for those who want access.

[hh]What is a copyright?[/hh]

Copyright protects the author of an original piece of work and grants that author an exclusive right for a certain time, other rights In relation to that work. That would include publication, distribution, and adaptation. Copyright applies to any expressible form of an idea or information that is substantiative and discrete in fixed medium (in this case, music).That means the creator can sell it, create new work adapted from the original work, perform or display the work publicly which would include radio or video (commonly called broadcasting rights).

[hh]Sharing a Copyright[/hh]

Transferring and licensing terms used to describe how and when a copyright can be used. Licensing is a simple definition means under certain conditions another person or entity can use the original work. If a person or entity decides not to license the original work from the original owner that is called copyright infringement (or copyright violation). It is an unauthorized use of the material.

[hh]Voice of the People[/hh]

The public perception about using music is not unlike other areas of society. After all music used to be so simple. You listened to it on the radio for free, but you didn't get to say what would be played, and there were lots of commercials. Many people still hold onto the notion that music should be free. It's difficult to start paying for something that used to be free. With the invention of the Internet in places like MySpace music and lots of other sites, people can go to those sites and listen to music for free. The line between ownership and user is murky at best as more and more websites offer free streaming music.

If the original artist of a piece of music decides to put that piece of music on the Internet it may be very difficult someday soon to receive the monetary benefits from owning that kind of work. Unlike owning something that is physical music can be duplicated with the touch of a button.[1]

[hh]The Music Business[/hh]

In 2008 to Digital music business internationally grew by 25% to $3.7 billion. Consumer demand for music is higher than ever to Nielsen SoundScan reported overall sales at an all-time high in the US in 2008. 2 The US is the world leader in digital music sales, accounting for some 50% of the global digital music market value. Single track downloads crossed the 1 billion mark for the first time in 2008, totaling 1.1 billion, up 27% from 2007.

[hh]Unauthorized Free Music[/hh]

Separate studies in 16 countries over a three-year period revealed more than 40 billion files were illegally file shared in 2008, giving a piracy rate of around 95%. Overall 16% of Internet users in Europe regularly swapped in fringing music on file sharing services in 2008. national Federation of phonographic industry(IFPI) has a anti-piracy team that looks for links to Web addresses that are infringing music. In 2007 the team removed 550,000 links. In 2008, that number increased to over 3 million![2]

Related Debates

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Software Patents
Should Music Sharing Be Illegal?


Arguments For

[hh]Yes, music sharing/copying should be illegal[/hh]

Downloading music in the form of file sharing is dangerous for those involved because you could be held responsible for unknowingly or unwittingly copy protected files

Downloading music without paying for it betrays the artist who created it. It stifles the careers of new artists and up-and-coming bands.

Stealing music threatens the livelihood of the thousands of working people-from recording engineers to record store clerks-who are employed in the music industry[4]

The cost of recording and promoting a major album can easily top $1 million, and only one out of every 10 ever turns a profit.[4]

Arguments Against

[hh]No, sharing/copying music should be legal[/hh]

CD only has a few good songs and often cost too much

Popular artists make plenty of money already

The music industry is dragging its heels in creating legitimate online music business model[3]

Music on the radio used to be free, it should be free now.

Downloading songs for non-commercial purposes constitutes fair use.[5]


 1  [a url=http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=Music+copyrights&fulltext=Search]"Music Copyrights"[/a] September 15, 2009 Wikipedia
 2  [a url=http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/DMR2009-key-statistics.pdf"]"Key statistics"[/a] September 15, 2009 The International Federation Of Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
 3  [a url=http://www.mredkj.com/other/sharing.html]"What's That Song? Other- File Sharing: A Debate"[/a] September 15, 2009 MREKJ.com
 4  [a url=http://www.musicunited.org/4_shouldntdoit.html]"Why You Shouldn't Do It"[/a] September 15, 2009 Music United.org
 5  [a url=http://www.uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=4167784]"Judge rejects fair use argument in file sharing case science/technology"[/a] July 29, 2009 Jiang, A. UWIRE

User Comments & Opinion


2 Voted Yes

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Yes, it is like photocopying a book... it is still illegal - _fraz_ (twitter) 0
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yes because the owners won't make their profit - Daisydook2 (twitter) 0

0 Voted No

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