The Growing Problem of Music Piracy Essay

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The Growing Problem of Music Piracy

At the turn of the millenium, the music industry has been faced with an unforeseen phenomenon that has affected its very foundation - mass scale music piracy. The decline of CD sales in the past three years have been blamed on the availability of songs that can be downloaded from Internet sites and service providers like Napster, KaZaA and Morpheus free of charge. Today the issue of intellectual copyright infringement in music has been taken more seriously than ever before, as large record labels and companies like Sony and EMI struggle to maintain healthy album sales in the face of online music piracy. In addition, music piracy affects more than just the corporate world - it affects the very
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The first illegal music file provider on the Internet was Napster. This program was the brainchild of a then 18-year-old student named Shawn Fanning and upon its release in 1999, the popularity of his program grew tremendously with every passing day. Thus it was only a matter of time before the music industry took notice. By December of that year the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster for copyright infringement, stating that ?Napster is about facilitating piracy, and trying to build a business on the backs of artists and copyright owners.?(McManus) Although Napster would soon lose the battle to the RIAA in court, many variants of Napster began popping up, most notably Gnutella and KaZaA, which were file sharing services that offered more of the same free content. By 2003, the US $14 billion music industry witnessed a 31% CD sales decline since 2000 and continually blamed illegal file sharing for their woes. Critics of the music industry say however that ?there are other factors to blame [for poor CD sales], such as stiff competition for the entertainment dollar from video games and DVDs, fewer hit songs or artists and the high price of CDs.?(Evangelista) Regardless of the reasoning however, the ethical issue of pirated music is still prevalent.

On a moral standpoint, record labels view people who collect and share copyrighted music without paying royalties or compensation to the

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