Piracy…Where do we draw the line?

Piracy is a problem that keeps on growing in today’s world especially with technology thriving the way it has be lately. The music industry for instance is no stranger to stealing and sharing and has caused sales to continually decrease. The biggest question is what can be done to eliminate this problem of piracy? After reading this week’s articles I find it hard to take a side without contradicting myself. One the one hand, I think that music is a privilege and the musicians should definitely get paid for their work. For years I have paid for my music whether it be on iTunes or to physically purchase the album from a music shop and wouldn’t think of any other way of doing it because that is the right thing to do. On the other hand, I am the perfect example of unintentionally committing piracy as I lend my CDs to my friends or let them take songs from my iTunes to put on their iPods. I have never really thought about that to be piracy because I’m not giving it out to hundreds of people and I did pay for the CD. That being said I think it’s not always clear of where to draw the line and determined what is to be considered wrong or acceptable. Condry states that “If music is free, no one will pay for it. If no one pays, artists and producers will stop creating music” (Condry, 2004). This exact reason is why something needs to change before the music industry falls beyond repair, something that would be terrible for not only the artists but for the general public who caused it.

Honestly I think that there might not be a solution to this piracy situation that would make both consumer and producer happy. With technology getting better and better, I think that we are just making it easier for piracy to take place. The only way I see piracy from stopping is if drastic measures are taken, making it a huge penalty to share and download music illegally, but in reality that may end up causing more problems than we began with. And then what do we draw the line? Is sharing a CD between friends the same as sharing a song online, available for hundreds to access? Steinmetz and Tunnell bring up a good point in their article saying “Piracy allows a greater distribution of a given product than traditional means” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013). As sad as that statement is, I think it’s completely true. Piracy and sharing is an easy way to get out stuff out there, unfortunately it’s not right and not fair to the artist who isn’t getting paid for their work. So I don’t really have any suggestions to the music industry they could really make any difference but rather I have a suggestion to society; music is not a given right, we are blessed and privileged that individuals decide to take the risk of becoming musicians and to share their music and talent with the world. So instead of taking it for granted and abusing what isn’t ours to abuse in the first place, we should take a second thought before illegally downloading or sharing music online.

Condry, Ian. (2004). Cultures of Music Piracy: An Ethnographic Comparison of the US and JapanInternational Journal of Cultural Studies. 7 (3), pg. 343-363

Steinmetz, K., K. Tunnell (2013). Under the Pixelated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line PiratesDeviant Behavior. 34 (1), pg. 53-67


3 thoughts on “Piracy…Where do we draw the line?

  1. I understand where your coming from with supporting artists. However, my take on it is people pay for quality. I buy albums with sound quality but when I want some lame single that just happens to be catchy to play at a party I’m having there’s no way I’m paying for it and the people who do are still probably overcompensating the artist who spent 5 minutes in the studio playing around with auto tune. By the way I know I sound grumpy but I do agree with what you posted but my actions always contradict what’s considered “right”. I do think though that there will always be a music industry just due to the star power celebrities possess and also the fact that true artists have passion and will always love to pursue it without monetary motivation.

  2. I completely agree with you in saying that no matter what conclusion results, one side will not be happy. So who gets hurt or disadvantaged? The talented and respected musician who makes millions of dollars or the consumer who either pays their hard earned money for that music or takes part in piracy? No matter what, everyone will never be happy with any outcome.

    You brought up an excellent point when saying where the line should be drawn. Piracy is not always meant to be intentional, like the simple lending of a song or loading someone’s IPod with music but organizations are already laying out steep consequences and fines. Should all be fined or just extreme cases? It all gets so complex and confusing when we get right into the topic.

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