The Future of File Sharing Essay

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According to recent research, 61% of people ages 14-24 illegally download copyrighted music (Van Der Sar, Aug. 2009). Known as “file sharing,” the process of making digital files available over the internet is a habit among many people of all ages. Since Napster, the first file sharing program, came out in 1999, the prevalence of file sharing steadily increased. According to Koleman Strumpf, by 2006, 60% of all internet traffic was due to file sharing, up from less than 10% in 1999 (Pries 1). The rapid growth of file sharing can be attributed to several factors, one of which is the general social acceptance of downloading music without paying for it (Grassmuck 1). Not everyone supports file sharing, however. The Recording Industry …show more content…
Copying was free and unlimited. In order to take advantage of this new technology, a company called Napster came into existence (Taintor). Napster, the first centralized way for computer users to share music, started its business in 1999. Two years later, the company lost a lawsuit, and had to pay millions of dollars in damages (Taintor). This legal setback did not stop the spread of file sharing; if anything, it caused a large increase in the number of options people had to share their music (Taintor). To fill the hole left by Napster, several new file sharing applications emerged. The new applications used technology called “peer-to-peer,” which enabled users to share their files amongst one-another, rather than from a centralized server. This change in the way the applications worked allowed them protection from the legal woes that plagued Napster. Since then, content owners and publishers have taken to suing individuals to combat file sharing (Kravets). They argue that mass lawsuits are the only way to protect their artists, the music industry, and music itself from the evils of peer-to-peer file sharing. People cite many reasons for using file sharing services. One reason is to discover new music. While the radio provides some access to music listeners might not have heard, some music fans want to be able to explore on their own. These people want to know what they are buying before they pay for it.

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