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To steal or not to steal music

To Steal Music or Not to Steal Music
The music industry is a very cutthroat business. Within the past few months a great deal of controversy has arisen. This controversy is based around whether copying music and sending them to friends is illegal or not. There are many different views on this but recently record companies have taken legal action against file sharers and these people who have been convicted have been given penalties for their actions regarding music copyrighting laws. Considering how these issues have been found on sections D, E, and C this topic is relatively not so important. I believe that this issue should be more important than some of the other issues because it relates closest to the people. Most of the people in America have used file sharing or at least knows someone who has tried it. The action that should be taken should be from the opinion of the people who create the music industry, the people.
The first article that has to deal with music and file sharing was published on August 19, 2003, Page E03, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA). In this article the Recording Industry Association of America states that they will not pursue small violators when it comes to the illegal sharing of songs on the Internet. Also, many different people feel the RIAA is being “excessive” says that Senator of Minnesota Norm Coleman. Excessive seems to be the opinion of many people on this topic.
20 days later on April 29th, Apple came up with a potential solution to music pirating on the Internet; the story covering this topic was published on Page C11, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA). “Two years after angering the recording industry with its “Rip. Mix. Burn” ad campaign, Apple Computer Inc. has won its cooperation in creating the Internet’s least restrictive commercial music service yet. The iTunes Music Store announced by Apple chief executive officer Steve Jobs yesterday draws from all five major labels in offering more than 200,000 songs at 99 cents a download – and includes some big-name artists who previously shunned online distribution” (Page C11, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 29, 2003). I think the creation of Apple’s new “solution” is not really going to get a lot of customers because, say you buy 10 songs for $.99 per download the price comes out to be around the same price of an album with 10 songs on it. The downside to this is that no extra material comes with the purchase like DVD material, pictures, lyrics on some albums that can be bought in a store.

About a week and a half later on September 9th, 2003 page D01, The Philadelphia Inquirer published that the recording industry finally launched lawsuits against 261 music fans in U.S. federal courts. These people who were sued are guilty of downloading and sharing at least 1,000 over the Internet. Over time the number of sued music fans could range up into the thousands according the RIAA. The major record labels involved in these lawsuits are BMG, EMI, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music.
Finally in the most recent issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer Matthew Fordahl posted on Oct. 9th, 2003 an article called Crackdown on music sharing is firing a software evolution. This article is one of the most intricate so far on this issue. The future of file sharing is jus that it will not stop no matter what the RIAA or anyone else does. With the inevitable advancement of technology people will learn how to transfer information faster, more efficiently, and most importantly more secure. An example of this kind of high security file sharing program is called Blubster. On this program users more difficult to identify, and it encrypts the files before they are transferred making it very complex for the industry to bring a lawsuit against users on this network. Fighting piracy is only forcing the people who want to be pirates to make more complicated programs in order to continue pirating information.


Interviewee # 1: Background: This first interviewee is my brother; he has a masters degree in criminal justice and follows the music world very closely. He is in a band and this topic comes very dearly to his interests. He is a white male and he was born and raised in America and he is 24 years old.


Questions 1: Do you think music file sharing should be legal?
Yes, in some regard it should be legal.


Question 2: Do you think the record companies have the right to sue people with over 1,000 songs on their computer?
I believe that 1,000 songs is kind of an arbitrary number, but it seems fair enough.


Question 3: Do you think file sharing is the biggest reason for declining record sales?
No, I believe that high CD prices and poor quality of full length CD’s is responsible for declining sales. People are fed up with paying twenty dollars for a CD with only one song that they like on the whole album.


Interviewee # 2: Background: This is an ex-girlfriend of mine; she is 19, born in America. I picked her because she is the closest thing to a normal consumer and I like to see someone’s view who is outside an artists view like my brother.


Questions 1: Do you think music file sharing should be legal? Yes, because its ridiculous to be buying CDs that are about $25 and only have like one good song on it that u like. On the other hand, no because some people get carried away and therefore the bands are losing tons of money because people are too damn cheap to buy the damn CD
Question 2: Do you think the record companies have the right to sue people with over 1,000 songs on their computer? Yes, because they’re the psycho people that get way too carried away with that whole Downloading music thing. Downloading is ok if it just to get a taste of what the CD is going to be like.


Question 3: Do you think file sharing is the biggest reason for declining record sales?
YES. Like I said before. people are now becoming way too cheap to go out and buy a CD so all they do is DL everything now
Interviewee # 3: Background: This is one of my best friends. He is 30 years old, African American male. I asked him these questions to see a person who was raised differently then the previous interviewee’s.
Questions 1: Do you think music file sharing should be legal? Yes, at a controlled level.


Question 2: Do you think the record companies have the right to sue people with over 1,000 songs on their computer? Absolutely not, because it is unconstitutional. There is no guarantee the reason people are downloading these songs to save money or distribute them. For example downloading one single might lead to a person buying an album if they like it.


Question 3: Do you think file sharing is the biggest reason for declining record sales? No, but it definitely is a factor. Standardized music, and the quickness to conform to cookie cutter music is probably the biggest reason for declining record sales.

In my opinion these record companies shouldn’t sue their customers for wanting to hear what their artists are putting out. File sharing should be legal but to a certain extent. The best idea to regulate this is to only release songs for file sharing that are already released on television and radio. This would minimize the abuse of file sharing and would keep it under control. Record companies blame file sharing for the decrease in record sales when that is definitely not the only factor. There are way too many aspects that can lead to the slowing of record sales. One of the main reasons why record sales are declining is because of the decline of originality in music today. Many bands have changed overtime into the same pop type music. Bands that originally started off very unique and different from everyone else developed into the same type of music of most of the already famous bands in order to succeed.
The media is used as a medium to present to the people of this great country a reality that is close to the truth but is worded in a way to maintain a high morality in the country. When it comes to certain articles like music copying and file sharing the media regards it as not a big issue. In comparison to the war of course it is miniscule in importance and is only in the paper because the media believe that it is “ok” to share with the general public. The media and the people who put together the newspaper act as a filter. The filter’s purpose is to maintain society as a whole. No one really knows what would happen without this filter because society itself has not survived without some sort of media as long as anyone alive can remember. People as a society need to break out of the barrier of protection and see the world in their own eyes and make their own opinions of the world around them.

Articles Used for Research
Recording group lets up on small pirates, Published on August 19, 2003, Page E03, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA).


Music industry accepts Apple’s online service, Published on April 29, 2003, Page C11, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA).


Music Industry Sues Over Downloads, Published on September 9, 2003, Page D01, Philadelphia
Inquirer, The (PA).


Fordahl, Matthew, Crackdown on music sharing is firing a software evolution, Posted on Thu, Oct. 09,
2003, Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA).