Digital Music and File Sharing: An Ethical Decision

Essay by davidhollomanCollege, UndergraduateB, March 2007

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Music is considered to be the universal language. It is something that can be understood by everyone regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. It has always reflected changes in culture and politics. It has expressed emotion through rhythm and sound inspiring art throughout history. Without music the world would undoubtedly not be what it is today.

Technology, like music, is ever changing. Until recently, anyone who wished to purchase music would have to travel to their local music retail store or purchase online and wait for delivery. Now with the technology of digital music people can purchase music and receive it almost instantly over the internet. Convenience typically has a price in this case it is half and sometimes even a third of what consumers would pay for a hard copy. With advancements in technology, merged with music, societies all over the world will more easily become united.

With the emergence of programs such as Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody, and the more recent legal version of Kazaa Gold music can easily be accessed by people all over the globe.

Some of these programs, such as iTunes, offer downloads from the company itself by paying for individual songs or albums. Other programs, such as Kazaa Gold, offers peer-to-peer downloads. Peer-to-peer downloading is essentially a community of people sharing music with other people across the world. Both types of programs share the fact that they offer a simple, logical, and very economical way of obtaining music.

Although this innovation in technology and music is beneficial to the homogenizing of world cultures it also has its detrimental aspects. It is estimated that each year recording companies across the world collectively lose an approximate 4.2 billion dollars to illegal file sharing or piracy (Chaffin). Piracy, or illegal file sharing, is a form of intellectual property...