A New Way to Break the Law: A Report on File-Sharing Networks

Essay by vanillavillainUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, February 2009

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Is it fair for a man in California to have to refinance his home to pay an $11,000 settlement to the recording industry? “I’m giving up and can’t fight this,” said Ross Plank, 36, of Playa Del Ray, California (Bridis 1). The introduction of file-sharing programs and free music downloading has created a new fuss among music lovers and consumers of the strictly protected music industry. “Is it time to face the fact that in today’s world, copyright law is broken? Our current copyright regime makes criminals out of music lovers. Worse, it makes suspected criminals out of all Internet users” (Wentworth 45).With the advent of digital technology in recent years, copyrighted sources that were formerly more secure, are now easily duplicated across the Internet. This introduction of easy-to-access digital music made its mark as a large turning point, having effect on both the consumer, and the marketplace. It is vital that a resolution between the two is met, and advances can be made in the industry.

Should we allow the use of free file-sharing applications to become legal because of the change in technology and the open-market structure of the Internet? Or should we abide by the current copyright laws that protect the authenticity and production of media files? Contrary to the fact that there are copyright laws that exist and are being followed, the laws are outdated and irrelevant when related to the issue of music downloading. The music industry looked at the issue in a completely negative way, and failed to consider the technology’s beneficial aspects, while putting the more important matters aside. The technology of file-sharing could be used in a very beneficial way to the music industry.

It all began with the introduction and invention of the MP3 in the digital music scene. “The MP3...