Essay: Music Piracy: The Debate Pro: Supporters

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Music Piracy: The Debate

Pro:

Supporters of so-called music 'piracy' deny that downloading songs for free is any kind of piracy at all. Listening to music downloaded from the Internet is viewed as very similar to listening to music for free on the radio or copying music using a cassette tape many years ago. In the Sony Corp. Of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. case (1984), the U.S. Supreme Court held that making copies for free using VHS or Betamax technology was not a copyright infringement. Putting music out into the public domain means that it will be 'shared' in some form, and the ability to tape music did not result in the death of music albums. All forms of physical artistic creation can be copied -- books can be xeroxed; paintings can be reproduced. To take the argument against piracy to the extreme would be to say that any type of 'sharing' including playing music for a friend was illegal, because the friend did not pay for the pleasure of listening to the song (Condry 2003).

Additionally, many services are available on the web for free, although they must be paid for as a tangible product in real life. Newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post are available for free in full online, while they still attract paid subscribers. Regarding the argument that artists 'need to make a living:' fans will still want to attend concerts and buy the paraphernalia of their favorite rock stars. Furthermore, the majority of the profits from songs go to labels, not artists. For one of iTune's 99 cent songs, the label receives 47 cents, while the artist, producer, and songwriter/publisher together receive only 18 cents. "The record company makes more than two and a half times what the musicians make" (Condry 2003: 15).

Finally, it seems as if regulating music is against the spirit of American free dissemination of content, under traditional copyright laws: "The original U.S. Copyright Act granted copyright-holders the exclusive right to print, publish, and sell a copyrighted work for fourteen years with a second fourteen-year term possible. There were no rights given to the copyright holder regarding the public performance of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Music Piracy: The Debate Pro: Supporters."  Essaytown.com.  February 26, 2011.  Accessed October 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/music-piracy-debate-pro-supporters/90706.