MP3 Controversy.

Essay by escoUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, May 2003

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MP3 Controversy

The MP3 controversy is one of the most controversial issues pertaining to the popular usage of the Internet. The Internet and its abusive ability to distribute free music (MP3's) effectively and easily is a controversial issue that has created a huge stir in the music industry. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is furious at the fact that millions of people around the world are downloading MP3's off the Internet, and creating their own music CD's. They believe that this is the main cause of the decrease in album sales of the past few years.

What is MP3? MP3 is short for, MPEG1 (Moving Picture Experts Group 1) Audio Layer 3. MP3 is an audio compression file format that was discovered from a single layer (3) of audio compression from the MPEG1 technology. The MP3 compression technique compresses at a 12:1 ratio, which is considered an extremely high ratio for compression technology.

So, the size of a high sound quality audio file of a full-length track from a music CD would be around 40 - 50 megabytes (depending on how long the song is) without any compression. This huge file takes up a lot of storage space on a computer's hard drive and would be inconvenient for people to download just one song. Internet users with a slow connection would take hours to complete a download and broadband users in minutes. MP3 compresses those files down to a size of under 5 megabytes, while maintaining the same high-sound quality from music CD's. In contrast, MP3's can be downloaded in minutes, or even seconds!

So, what's up with all the controversy surrounding MP3 files? Aren't they just high sound quality audio files that are compressed into much smaller files? Well, yes they are, which makes them much easier...