Digital Music Piracy Essay

1414 words - 6 pages

Digital music piracy has been a worry of the music industry since the creation of Napster in 1998. Piracy is the act of stealing something that does not belong to you which has been outlined in our society as something that is bad or against the law. There are many articles out there that highlight music piracy but four main important ones include: “The Music Industry on (the) Line? Surviving Music Piracy in a Digital Era” by Jelle Janssens, “Neutralizing Music Piracy: An Empirical Examination” by Jason R. Ingram, “The Impact of Digital Piracy on Music Sales: A Cross-Country Analysis” by Mark T. Bender, “Charismatic Code, Social Norms, and the Emergence of Cooperation on the File-Swapping ...view middle of the document...

Though the MP3 file, short for MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3, was originally developed in 1987, Napster represented the first mainstream and user-friendly program to transfer and download these files (Bender 157). Napster, a peer-to-peer (P2P) program, allowed online users to connect with one another and swap copyrighted music, videos, and other files contained on their computers, thus providing a way to get free music online (Bender 157). Peer-to-peer network is defined as two or more computers connected by software, which enables the connected computers to transmit files or data to other connected computers.(Ingram 134) Since music artists and record companies were uncompensated when consumers downloaded these music files, the act of downloading "free music" became known as digital music piracy. (Bender 157) In its two years of existence, Napster has changed the music business and its relationship with consumers (Janssens 91). The IFPI estimates that, in the year 2000, one in every three CDs purchased throughout the world was pirated. (Bender 158)
Napster did not have a long run, it was up for a total of two full years until law enforcement stepped in a decided it was time to make rules and shut the program down. As Janssens states, “First it tried to dissuade people to get involved in P2P file sharing by setting up awareness campaigns. Secondly, it tried to scare people off by threatening with legal actions.” (91) The people being sued by the music industry range from college students, laboratory assistants to parsons (Janssens 91). Although legal actions were presented that did not stop other peer-to-peer programs to be created with a hefty amount of followers.
Although there were harsh consequences towards downloading music it has not stopped most from illegally downloading music. One year after the creation of Napster a new file swapping program was released over in internet, it was called Gnutella. Gnutella is a peer-to-peer overlay network for file sharing (Ho, Kevin, Wu Jie, and John Sum). Presently, there are several different Gnutella applications, all of which use the same basic network and file-swapping technologies (Strahilevitz). These networks may be one of the few largest distributed computing systems ever, and more surprisingly, they have been running with great reliability and resilience in face of possibly the most ferocious dynamics (Ho, Kevin, Wu Jie, and John Sum). Gnutella’s network is more versatile than Napster’s was in that it allows users to exchange software files in any format, rather than just MP3 files (Strahilevitz). The Gnutella network does not rely on any central server to store a directory of the files available on users’ systems. Rather, all the computers plugged into the network function as mini-servers (Strahilevitz). Most of the peer to peer file sharing has now been shut down, but of course a new way to download music illegally still exists.
Torrents are things that can be downloaded off websites and do...

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