Cost of Free Music Downloading Essay

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In 1999, Napster hit the scene with a peer-to-peer file sharing application that changed the world. Within a year, millions of people were trading songs from a simple download. It didn't take long for Metallica to sue Napster and to ban users from access. 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. The torrent protocol and sites such as The Pirate Bay, Torrent Reactor and TorrentSpy became very popular. This created a major problem as the financial loss from file sharing escalated to billions of dollars. "In the decade since Napster emerged, music sales in the U.S. have dropped 47 percent, from $14.6 billion to $7.7…show more content…
Domestic and international laws are used to protect the music industry from copyright infringement. "In the US, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels" ("Students"). They have been filing lawsuits against potential violators and P2P companies over the last decade. You would always see in the news that someone was in court and being sued for having a few songs on their computer. Since many college students have been part of this group of violators, last year the Higher Education Opportunity Act was put in place and all schools are required to provide steps to prevent piracy. Internationally, "the IFPI promotes the value of recorded music, safeguard the rights of record producers and expand the commercial uses of recorded music" ("International"). One of their latest plans is to cut payments made to websites that violate anti-piracy laws. PayPal, Visa and MasterCard have agreed to cooperate with this plan. In France, repeat offenders can lose internet access for up to a year, be fined and even face a jail term. Also, the Sarkozy administration is forcing ISP's to block or throttle web services for those people that are accused of copyright infringement (Chrisafis). It is believed that illegal downloading does not affect the music industry and that recording artists are rich, so there is nothing wrong with grabbing a
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