It's Only Sharing: File-Sharing and its Benefits.

Essay by migraneman7College, UndergraduateA, December 2005

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The legality of file-sharing creates a very intriguing debate. Is the transfer of digitally encoded music considered sharing or stealing? File-sharing has only been around for a few years, yet it has quickly become one of the most debated topics in pop-culture. The full effects of file-sharing have yet to be seen, and the full ramifications of it won't be realized until it is decided whether it is considered sharing or stealing. These ramifications could end up being positive or negative, depending on which viewpoint is taken on this issue. Contrary to the viewpoints of John Balzar, author of "The Internet or a .45, It's Robbery of the Artist," the transferring of digitally encoded music is actually sharing, not stealing.

Many people, including Balzar, consider file-sharing as stealing. He cited Rolling Stone magazine as saying there was a 13% drop in independent music stores near college campuses, and that CD-burning and Internet music sharing are chiefly to blame.

He went on to say that "history will record this epoch in which we live as the Convenience Age, not the Information Age. And as it becomes more convenient to download than to buy, it won't matter whether you call it sharing or stealing. The result will be the same." (301).

However, Balzar fails to realize the true meaning of his own sources of evidence. He cited the 13% drop in independent music stores near campuses right after stating that music sales increased 18% nationwide. Therefore, the amount of sales lost in the grand scheme of things is insignificant. Independent music stores generally tend to have independent bands which are signed onto independent labels. Many of these bands are opting to have their music available through websites such as The goal of such independent bands is to have their music heard...