Nowadays, music has become an integral part in the life of modern man. For many years people have been expressing their feelings using music or the words expressed by the appropriate tune. Music has developed over several decades: many professional artists had appeared in that period, whose records were accessed to everyone in any music store in the forms of LPs, then cassettes, then CDs…
It can be spend hours on discussing the development of the music industry, which has become one of the most profitable business areas. However, during the development of this sphere in the world of business has appeared a set of new, various industries, one of which is the Internet Network. With the advent of the global information network, the music industry began to suffer losses, because the Internet network with high speed began to develop piracy, unauthorized (illegal) media files sharing.
This Essay will treat and analyze main points of advantages and disadvantages of unauthorized media files sharing; Government's aspiration to put down a breach of copyright; the influence of free and unlimited music downloads on various spheres of activities, such as industries of recording, marketing and modern technologies; piracy impact on the job market and musicians' income; the effect of copyright infringement on the level of economic growth of the country. Nowadays almost every Internet user has access to various computer programs for music downloads.
For that reason, in a short time sharing music files has become a big issue for the music industry. Despite the fact, that downloading music from Internet is illegal, almost every internet user swaps huge amount of songs every day without any worries about the consequences, which may be versatile. Firstly, piracy downloading of music destroys sales of albums, which has become a huge loss for the music industry. According to the Independent news article "in 1997, 78 million singles were sold in the UK and last year, it was just 8.
6 million" (The Independent, 8 July 2009), which shows, that amount of sold music singles has decreased almost by 90% in the last thirteen years. However, consumers justify, that music albums are too expensive and buying them in order to listen to only one or two songs is ridiculous. Moreover, consumers downloading media files from the Internet are able to choose from various types of digital music and burn it all onto one CD or save that music on the mp3 player or mobile phone that makes listening to music more comfortable and enjoyable.
Free music downloads also has economic consequences in the job market. Plenty of people, working in the recording industry lose their jobs, because of decreasing number of customers. According to the web- based publication, "the 2008 study into Internet piracy found that recording industries had lost 186,000 employees in current year and the amount of loses is increasing every year" (CIOL, 18 March 2010), which means, that illegal file sharing develops economic crisis in the job market. Thirdly, downloading digital music reduces artists' income.
As the institute for policy innovation has reported, "wide-spread theft clearly harms intellectual property (IP) owners, who are denied the revenues they would have earned if their legitimate products had been purchased" (The Institute for Policy Innovation, 3 October 2007). In other words, as it is well known, musicians get per cents from the sold music albums with their records, so in case of decreasing demand on their music albums, their profit also reduces. But since the music industry is treated like other businesses, as Geoff Taylor, the Chief Executive of the BPI says: "There is not an acceptable level of file-sharing.
Musicians need to be paid like everyone else", therefore "pirates" should be cut off from the internet to avoid further violations of the law (The Independent, 8 July 2009). Finally, one of the highest impacts of piracy is its influence on the level of economic growth in the country. Customers do not pay taxes for the music, because they download all the media files absolutely for free; and producers, because they cannot sell their products (CD albums). People, who lose their jobs, also cannot pay any payments, because they are unemployed.
Moreover, the Government needs to pay them various welfare benefits to help them to survive. According to the Institutions' for Policy Innovation article, "In 2005, piracy conservatively cost U. S. industries collectively at least $25. 6 billion in lost revenue" (The Institute for Policy Innovation, 3 October 2007). In other words, piracy directly effects and greatly decreases the economic level in the country. For that reason, the Government aims "to crack down on illegal file-sharing" that would help to raise the level of the economy in the country (The Independent, 8 July 2009).
The Government uses various methods to stop illegal music files sharing. Among those methods are simple ones as "sending warning letters to those making illegal downloads" and more serious – as various punishments (The Independent, 8 July 2009). The most serious punishments are penalty and prosecution. According to the Independent newspapers article, "the penalties for copyright offences can lead up to i?? 5,000 or six months imprisonment" or "in the worst cases The Crown Court might impose an unlimited fine or up to 10 years imprisonment"(The Independent, 8 July, 2009).
In spite of the seriousness of the consequences that should have stopped "pirates" from the illegal files sharing, the piracy problem is increasing with every year and reaches the level of a global problem. On the other hand, there are many reasons why music downloads should be free and unlimited. Firstly, for example, some Internet users claim, that music is art and for that reason music downloads must be free and unlimited for all customers as is an entry to the art galleries. As it is well known, consumers can be from the different levels of financial status and not all of them can afford themselves to spend money on the CD albums.
In spite of this, everyone is entitled to an opportunity of cultural development, whether it is modern or classic music or other arts. Moreover, as the Guardian newspapers article claim "information technology gives people the potential to provide free and universal access to almost all human knowledge, art and entertainment" that should be appreciated by the government instead of worries about the loss of profits (The Guardian, 1 June 2009). Secondly, free downloads of music must be favourable for the marketing industries.
Although customers do not pay for the music, they download media files from the Internet Websites such as The Pirate Bay, Zaycev. Net, BearShare and others for free as a music advertisement. As The Independent newspapers article claims, "live performances, which account for more than half of the industry's profits, are unaffected by downloads – and may even be boosted by the opportunity they offer for young people on tight budgets to sample the music they might like to hear at a concert" (The Independent, 8 July 2009).
In other words, such advertisement is profitable for the musicians, because it influences on the amount of customers, buying tickets on the performers' upcoming concerts. Finally, digital music downloads increase the demand of music players that increases the profit of developing techniques industries. Since customers are interested in carrying their music with them, they are forced to buy any of various types of music players. In this area the most benefit the world wide companies such as IPod or Apple. The organisers of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) claim, that the "sales of MP3 players soared by 200% in 2005 to $3bn (i??
1. 73bn)" and demand of players is expected to hit in a future (BBC, 2006). In conclusion, the music industry is one of the most profitable areas of business and, therefore, like other similar spheres of activity it makes not only profit, but also a loss (in this paper, this loss is piracy, illegal downloads of media files). However, by analyzing all the benefits and losses coming from piracy, it is difficult to identify whether music downloads is loss or vice versa makes more profit for the music industry.
Therefore most appropriate solution in this situation is to find a compromise between both sides of piracy. In other words, digital music downloads should not be stopped or limited, although it also should not be absolutely for free. Minimal cost has to be applied to every internet user, but customers should have an opportunity to choose any music they like. That kind of solution would greatly increased the profit of recording companies, income of musicians and level of economic growth would significantly raised by taxes earned on the sold digital music.
1. The Independent (8 July 2009), Illegal downloading: What happens, if you're caught? [online]
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/illegal-downloading-what-happens-if-youre-caught-1736013.html [Accessed on 03/11/2010]
2. BBC (2006), Music players lead digital surge [online]
Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4580244.stm