Music Piracy

Topics: File sharing, Theft, Property Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: October 10, 2008
Virtual Shoplifters

Everyone knows that shoplifting a CD is illegal and morally wrong. However, not all people agree that downloading music or copying a CD is theft. Most people are aware of the copyright laws, but some people are confused about the ethics of downloading music. I am one of those people who is confused. I download music on occasion. I have never felt I was participating in an unethical activity. However, I do understand that downloading music is cheating the artists from earning the money they deserve. How can I decide for myself whether downloading music is ethical or unethical? While I was searching online for articles about downloading, I discovered the website for the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. This organization deals with the laws against music piracy. Music piracy can be defined as the stealing of music (“Examples”). The two main ethical arguments advanced by the RIAA are that downloading is theft and that it harms the music industry and it’s employees (“RIAA”). The RIAA has filed many lawsuits against people who have ignored these laws (Austin). The argument that downloading is theft comes from the position that music is intellectual property (“RIAA”). The RIAA’s advertisements show a clear parallel between downloading a song and shoplifting a CD. The implication is that intellectual property is no different than physical property; and therefore, the wrongness of physical theft applies directly to downloading music (Bohn). I feel that there is a distinction between the two properties. People can use intellectual property simultaneously without interfering with other people’s rights. If I were to download a CD I wouldn’t be robbing the opportunity for someone else to buy the CD. On the contrary, if I were to shoplift a CD it would take away the possibility of someone else purchasing that CD. The organization’s laws made me question how I felt about downloading as a whole. On one hand, I...

Cited: Austin, Cameron. "Are You a Pirate?" ELibrary. 27 Feb. 2008. 24 Sept. 2008 .
Bohn, Roger. "Piracy or Progress: Is Music Downloading Immoral?" ISIC: Miscellaneous Papers. Jan. 2004. 23 Sept. 2008 .
"Examples of how Free Downloading has Benefited Artists." Positive Effects on the Music Industry. 16 Nov. 2006. 23 Sept. 2008 .
"Piracy Hurts the Music Community!" MusicUnited. Aug. 2007. 23 Sept. 2008 .
"RIAA-Recording Industry Association of America." RIAA-For Students Doing
Reports. 21 Sept. 2008. 23 Sept. 2008
.
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