Napter Business Ethics

Essay by sleonardelliUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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The question posed "Is downloading songs off of Napster morally acceptable?" I am assuming this is not a question of Napster's ethics but my own. This assignment was an eye-opener for me. I never considered "copyright infringement" until now. Through considerable research and the recommended reading, I learned Napster's ultimate goal was to "build new ways for artists and their fans to connect, " and to give "artists a chance to be heard by potential consumers. " While their goal epitomized utilitarian ethics, downloading music to avoid purchasing a CD is hedonistic and morally unacceptable. The recording industry and their contracted artist lose considerable revenue from the abuse of information technology. I have a moral obligation to respect copyright law and those it protects. It is also my duty as a parent to set the example for my son that this practice, while socially and legally acceptable, is morally wrong.

As I have said, downloading music is legally acceptable. A "1984 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court found that the use of VCRs to record television programs for noncommercial use in the home violates no law. And the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 made it clear you can use a digital audio tape player or other similar gadgets to record digital music for personal, noncommercial use. " However, I don't think this precedence releases me from my moral obligation.

This brings me to my "ethical dilemma." My husband and I are active duty Senior Noncommissioned Officers. In August 2002, one of our friends sent us a RealPlayer video produced by another Noncommissioned Officer who used Toby Keith's "Red, White, and Blue" as background music. Currently, I do not know if the Air Force received Toby Keith's consent to use his music. Besides our 5-year-old son's love of the video/song...