Are You Downloading or Freeloading?

Essay by GIgirlmelUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

There are those that believe there is nothing wrong with downloading music from Napster and there are those who believe that it is wrong. I personally believe that it is wrong and that it is not morally acceptable. Downloading music primarily destroys intellectual property rights and means lower sales because CD quality music is being given away for free.

Every song that is written belongs to the artist who created it. It is their intellectual property and copying it without their permission can be illegal (Meyer). Napster infringes on the intellectual property rights of musicians and their record labels. The Copyright Act of 1976 provides the creator of a work to own copyright protection of their work. When a musician owns the exclusive right to a piece of work, copyright law allows the artist to do whatever they want with their work. The artist can sell it, copy it, give it away and perform it.

In 1992, Congress passed the Audio Home Recordings Act (AHRA). This law allows you to make your own copies, as long as you have bought the original copy. With these laws, Napster has been accused of copyright infringement. Napster claims to be free of any illegal activity because they publish a disclaimer on its web site that says, "Copying or distributing unauthorized MP3 files may violate U.S. and foreign copyright, adding that compliance with the law is the responsibility of the end-user". With this in mind, Napster users engage in unauthorized downloading or uploading of copyrighted music. They infringe at least two of the copyrighted holders' exclusive rights, which are the rights of reproduction and the rights of distribution. The law does not require actual knowledge of specific acts of infringement. Napster can be found contributorily liable if it has reason to know of its...