While I was searching online for articles about downloading, I discovered the website for the Recording Industry Association of America, or ARIA. 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 ARIA are that downloading is theft and that it harms the music industry and it’s employees (“ARIA”). The ARIA 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 (“ARIA”).
The Aria’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 (Boon). 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 believe that downloading music is not like stealing at all. I consider theft as physically taking an object from someone else. Downloading music doesn’t take away something that can be potentially sold by the owner, so to me, it can’t technically be considered as theft. On the other hand, I agree that downloading music is becoming a problem for many industries and the artists as individuals. After researching the laws of the ARIA, I began to wonder how serious downloading is or the music industry.
I decided to search for articles that specifically addressed these issues. I came across several articles that addressed the huge impact of intellectual property theft. The article I found most meaningful is from the Music United Organization. The article states that music piracy causes $12. 5 billion in economic losses every year. Along with this, the article states that approximately 71,060 U. S. Jobs are lost every year due to music downloads (“Piracy’). This fact illustrates that not only does piracy affect musicians, but many other people as well. Record companies and music store clerks are some of the other people it hurts.
I agree that downloading music affects more than Just the artist. This article gave me a better understanding on how serious downloading music really is. While I was Music Piracy By Haley my attention. The article explains the benefits that come from free downloading. This particular article discusses how the band, Radioed, allowed their entire CD, “Kid A” to be downloaded for free. The band used the downloading for publicity rather than using interviews, music videos, or radio plays. The CD was available for ere three months before the release date.
Despite the heavy downloading, the CD sold 210,000 copies in the first week and it debuted at number one on the Billboard charts (“Examples”). This suggests that downloading generated enough publicity to help the album become extremely successful. I feel that allowing music to be downloaded is a great form of publicity. It allows the music to be viewed before the actual buying of the CD. I prefer not purchasing a CD until I’m positive I will like it. Along with this, I feel that people are more likely to go to concerts if music is being heard in advance by free downloads.
I have gone to many concerts where I don’t own the CD of the artist that was performing. At this point of my research, I began to see more clearly why the issue of downloading music is problematic. The success of Radioed with the free downloads was the exact opposite of what the ARIA laws said should happen. The free downloads did not hurt the musicians; it actually allowed listeners to become more aware of a particular CD and the result was an increase in sales. Thus, the argument held by the ARIA that downloading music is unethical because it harms the music industry is distorted and invalid.