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Morals are standards of behaviour; a set of principles that determine right and wrong. As a society we mostly consider ourselves to be moral individuals. If placed within a moral dilemma we go back to the taught morals that our parents, mostly the Baby Boomer and Generation X have instilled in us to make sound decisions. But what if the internet changed these rules?
So how are these morals questioned?
An example can be seen within the music industry. As a society we now download more music online via online services rather than going to bricks and mortar stores due to the ease and instant nature that we are used to. But without music piracy pioneered but Napster, we wouldn’t have set the president for entrepreneurs to build viable legal options such as Spotify.
In 2004, a Barna survey revealed that fewer than 1 in 10 Teenagers Believe that Music Piracy is Morally Wrong. Despite the widespread coverage of the legal arguments and fight against piracy, most young consumers possess no moral qualms about getting music illegally. Instead, the vast majority of teens (86%) believes that music piracy -including copying a CD for a friend or downloading non-promotional music online for free - either is morally acceptable or is not even a moral issue. Just 8% claim that such activities are morally wrong.
In 2004 to 2009, data in the USA has shown that 30 billion songs were downloaded illegally. In 2010, published Spanish statistics for illegally downloading files equated to 97.3%, which is almost the entire population. While statistics for 2013 aren’t out yet, Spain has ramped up the law so if you are caught illegally downloading, you might end up with a prison sentence longer than if you found guilty of rape.
As a society we have become used to taking data to gratify ourselves instantly. We take what we need and not thinking about the consequences and rarely reflecting upon where or whom it came from. While there’s conflicting evidence that piracy doesn’t hurt the creative industries as much as they think, without looking at other alternatives will only harm the new generation Z in giving them channels to consume.
The next steps for the previous generations to keep the pressure on technology makers and platforms to provide us with viable options of consumption. We need to keep building upon the free culture movement to enable the generations after. By further providing legal choices, people will be able to still continue to have ease of access at free or competitive prices, still keep to the same consumption rates. The difference is that we are making a new set of standards where we place culture in higher regard and not to challenge our moral code and influence the generations after.
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