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Problems with Illegal Music Downloading

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Essay title: Problems with Illegal Music Downloading

Problems With Illegal Music Downloading

In May of 2003 Kazaa had become the most downloaded software in the world with 230 million copies downloaded worldwide (Basen N.P.). So that is at least 230 million potential customers who are not paying for a lot of the music they are listening to. Downloading music for free is illegal and the current punishments are not doing enough to stop all of the downloaders.

On June 31st 1999 the worlds first way for people to share music for free over the internet was created when Shawn Fanning , the creator of the program, gave a version out to a few friends for beta testing. He called his software Napster after a nickname of his in college (Ante N.P.). He had told the friends not to give it to anyone but they couldn’t resist because it was so good of a product In the matter of a few weeks over three thousand people were using Napster and that was when Shawn knew it would be a success. (N.P.). Those few thousand began spreading it over the internet and it began expanding its user base very quickly at a rate of between five and twenty-five percent growth daily (Taro N.P.). By March of 2000 there were around five million users and it was still spreading. When Napster was at its peak it had around twenty-five million users ranking it among the greatest computer applications of all time. (Kover N.P.). After battling in court for fourteen months Napster was shut down on February 2nd 2001 by the Ninth circuit court of appeals. It was shut down because it was a device that allowed the spread of pirated material. There were already numerous applications ready to take it’s place most notably Kazaa which holds a record for most downloads of software with two hundred and thirty million copies (Basen N.P.).

What exactly was Napster? Napster was a peer to peer client software which would allow two computers to be connected directly over the internet allowing them to share files (Dong N.P.). It provided a way for users to share mp3 music files for free.

Napster worked by downloading the program and registering it with the company. After that was done you could put your own songs on the computer so they could be shared with the entire world. Because napster was not holding the songs on their own servers it temporarily kept them out of legal danger. To find a song you were looking for all you had to do was go to the search section of the program and type in the name of the song or artist you wanted, and a list of results would come up. All you then had to do was click the song you wanted and wait for it to complete downloading.

Because of Napster allowing people to get their music for free they obviously were not buying as much music from the companies as they would have before. This had to have cost the record companies a lot of many in fact it actually costs them over 4.2 billion dollars a year. From the years 2000 to 2003 CD shipments were down about 31% and total revenues were down about 22% (Basen N.P.) Because bands were not making money off of people listening to downloaded songs, and it made it easier to pirate CD’s it was made a copyright violator. Also because bands were not making a profit it makes it even harder for newer bands to make it in a business that’s already tough enough to make it in to. In actuality only 10% of bands are successful so record companies rely on the sales of the major successes to make up for the non profitable ones. Because of this most bands had to raise prices on already highly priced CD’s just to break even on profits. Record stores also have taken huge hits in sales from free downloading. Some have seen their sales cut in half others have seen even more losses. (Basen N.P.) The newer sources of files sharing even support the spread of videos, images, documents, and software allowing even more software to be pirated. People using Kazaa swapped between four-hundred and five-hundred movies a day this of course also has to be damaging to the motion picture associations. From the result of swapping films the motion picture companies missed out on 25.5 million dollars from just two films Spiderman and Star Wars Episode Two: attack of the clones when around 2 million copies of the movie were swapped over the internet.

48% of all file shares swap videos and of those 42% were pornographic, 10% were music videos, 95 were TV shows and 7 % were feature films (Kinley N.P) The Customs cyber smuggling center did a search for child pornography and downloaded 341 files 44% were child pornography, 29% were child erotica and the rest were adult pornography. Child pornography is considered to be one of the worst crimes there is and because of file sharing it is becoming increasingly

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