According to the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) the record industry loses $4.3 billion dollars, worldwide, due to music piracy (RIAA, 2003). The American Federation of Artists claims that on-line music piracy has caused some record store sales to drop by 20% and that 20.6 billion illegal downloads occur every month (AFM, 2004). Many experts believe that music piracy is currently the number one threat to the music industry. RIAA sources claim 278 million people, worldwide, use peer to peer networks such as KaZaA and Grokster to trade music files. RIAA and AFM are fiercely fighting music piracy and enlisting government support to put and end to this crime. Congressional committees are currently addressing on-line music piracy and are generating bills.
Many people do not understand why music piracy is such a big deal and see it is a "victimless" crime. Contrary to this belief, there are many people who argue there is a wide range of victims who suffer the consequences of music piracy.
The main group who suffers are the actual music artists who receive no reward for their talent. Anyone with a computer can download whole entire albums without paying a dime to the music industry. Copyright laws and intellectual property laws are being completely disregarded. Music artists are not receiving the royalties they are entitled to for sharing their talent with their fans. This creates a lack of incentive artists need to continue creating new music.
Secondly, many groups feel as if government and our own economies suffer greatly due to this crime. According to a report created for the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) in 1999, the copyright industry accounted for $348.4 billion in value to the U.S. economy, approximately 4.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (USINFO, 2000). The IIPA estimates that the American copyright industry loses $22 billion due to piracy. Internet music piracy cancels job positions for...