Despite seeming evidence to thecontrary the major players on the globalmusic industry continue to claim thatpiracy is ‘killing’ new music, to whatextent is illegal copying either, acriminal act or a democratising ofpopular culture? By Jade Mori, Laura Whitehead, Bethan Clift and Hannah Sutton
Can you clarify to me what music piracy actually is, people don’t always know the ins and outs of the matter.Music piracy is a form of copyright infringementwhich means the owners’ rights are violated.“Copyright law protects the value of creative work. When you make unauthorizedcopies of someone’s creative work, you are taking something of value from theowner without his or her permission.” - RIAA
Who would know if I copied a CD and gave itto my friend, or downloaded something off the internet which I hadn’t paid for?Even though companies such as the RIAA represent record labelsand try to monitor illegal downloads, the increasing volume makesit extremely difficult to control.“The history of music piracy also parallels the history of musicrecording and distribution. While it is very difficult to reproducevinyl albums on a massive scale, the transition to cassette tapesand later to CDs [,and now downloads] made musicreproduction, and therefore piracy, much easier.” (Pang, L 2006)
What’s the RIAA? The RIAA is the Recording Industry Association of America who aim to support and promote major record labels which contribute to 85% of all legitimate recorded music. “While downloading one song may not feel that serious of a crime, the accumulative impact of millions of songs downloaded illegally – and without any compensation to all the people who helped to create that song and bring it to fans – is devastating.” - RIAA
I didn’t realise that the downloading of one song could affect so many people. That must have quite big consequences with so much illegal downloading occurring?Did you hear about the Metallica case in 2000? The band found over300,000 illegal downloaders names and took them to the RIAAwhich took action and temporally closed Napster down.
I asked you earlier how illegal downloads are ‘killing’ the music industry but what about the effects it has had on unknown artists? Surely there are some benefits?Illegal downloads are a good thing in popular culture as itprovides smaller, lesser known artists with the chance to becomemore recognised and listened to.“A creative person would prefer their music to be stolenand enjoyed than ignored.”- Pete Townshend, The Who Singer/song-writer, Ed Sheeran gained his first, top ten single in 2011, by reaching number two whilst still unsigned.
ConclusionSo, everyone knows that music piracy and downloading freemusic is illegal and a criminal act but it is easier to get away withit, therefore the seriousness of the crime can be forgotten. It isperhaps seen to be killing the industry as record labels are losingout on the profits they once had, but in the short term newerartist are becoming more well-known and may be gaining inother ways. “Downloading is a facet of a much larger and irrefutable fact: the internet is here to stay and it is in the process of revolutionizing many aspects of human society.” – Frank Turner, Musician
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