Illegal Downloading and Its Effect on the Entertainment Industry

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ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING AND ITS EFFECT ON THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

The act of illegal downloading and its effect on the entertainment industry is an argument that has provoked many different reactions and opinions from many people in many different industries around the globe. In this essay the author will examine the different aspects to this argument, both positive and negative, and also share their own opinions and experiences. However, the main focus of the essay is on the side of the file sharer. How has illegal downloading really affected the entertainment industry? Is it true that all recording artists, movie directors and writers are better off without illegal downloading? The author of this essay suggests that this may not be the case.

The Internet has changed the entertainment industry and continues to do so, it has its pro’s & it has its con’s. The Internet has come a long way in the last ten years, with more and more people entering the online world and discovering its marvels. One of which being, downloading media such as movies & music. Illegal downloading has become rife in modern society, with broadband speeds getting faster & broadband becoming more readily available around the world. This in turn makes it easier to obtain such media. It wasn’t long before sites such as ‘Napster’ were born, which allowed people to download media for free from the Internet via peer to peer networking (P2P). People soon realised the potential for such capability, leading the creation of more and more similar sites such as ‘Limewire’ and ‘Bareshare’. Even though ‘Napster’ was shut down in 2001, this discontinuation made little impact on the industries fight against illegal file sharing, as others still operated, and indeed continue to do so today in some form or other. Torrents or ‘Warez’ sites are similar concepts. As opposed to one click download, the user downloads ‘torrents’, which are essentially links to a source from which the desired file is obtainable. The user then opens the torrent in a program such as “Utorrent”, which proceeds to download the file from the linked source. The birth of such sites make it even harder to combat against illegal downloading due to numerous sources & links to media. The Internet simply isn’t policeable to the degree society is, and mass Internet crime such as file sharing is unstoppable, all an artist can do is embrace it and utilizes it to the best of their ability.

In 2000 the heavy metal band “Metallica” began a fight against “Napster” after discovering that one of their demo songs for the then forthcoming movie “Mission Impossible II” had been leaked and was being played over the radio in the US. In many ways this marked the beginning of a debate that still rages over whether or not the act of illegal downloading is right or wrong. Metallica eventually won their fight against ‘Napster’, which was a landmark case in terms of bringing sites such as ‘Napster’ to account for enabling illegal activity. Now, ten years on, illegal file sharing and illegal downloading is still rife online, with hundreds if not thousands of new sites springing up for every one shut down. But, as any struggling recording artist will tell you, one of the hardest things about breaking into the entertainment industry is actually getting your music into the public eye. With online downloading still as high as it ever was, the chance for lesser-known musicians and singer/songwriters to have their music played on the radio has increased considerably. Artists such as ‘Souljah Boy’, ‘Example’, ‘Sean Kingston’ & ‘Lilly Allen’ owe much of their success to ‘Myspace.com’. While the author would agree that ‘Myspace’ is not a file sharing site, it has still managed to thrust such artists into the public eye, granting them exposure in much the same way that file sharing does. Artists began to recognise the potential of the Internet to share music and in fact embraced the idea, with many publishing their music online...
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