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Legal and Ethical Issues Surrounding Downloading Music and Videos from the Internet

Discuss about the Information Ethics and Management for Economics and Policy.

Twenty-first centuries is the era of technology where information and technology has made many impossible things possible. With the help of technology, people can accomplish such milestones that were used to be impossible for them to achieve. With the help of technological advancement, the film and music industry has achieved many milestones. It has been seen that the people nowadays use to download videos and music from the internet. Most of the countries around the world do not permit the listeners and the viewer to download music and videos from the internet as it is considered as an illegal activity to them (Belleflamme and Peitz 2014). This essay is based on the topic that the restriction on the download of music and videos from internet should be abolished. All over the world, this is one of the trending topics for arguments that whether the ban on downloading music and videos from internet need to be abolished or not. Different people has different point of view on this topic. The objective of this essay is to evaluate the pros and cons of downloading music and videos from the internet and to come to a suitable conclusion (Schneider 2016).

There are countries all over the world where the process of downloading music and videos from the internet is considered as an illegal activity. In specific, there are countries where the downloading of music and videos from the internet is considered as steeling. Various reasons are there for these countries to mark this activity as illegal. The first reason is the issue of copyright act or law. Copyright is considered as an intellectual property. The purpose of the copyright law is to protect the original works of authorship that includes music, films, drama, movies, songs and many others. The copyright act or law gives the creator of the original work the right to sell or distribute his/her own creation (Brown 2013). In the case of downloading music and videos from the internet, the copyright act says that one cannot download any kinds of music and videos from the internet without giving the original creators of those music and videos the royalty. The copyright laws of the music and videos vary country-to-country (Marshall and Frith 2013). This is a simple process to download music and videos from the internet; but by doing this, people are breaking the laws of copyright on a regular basis. There are countries where the downloading of music and videos from peer to peer is legal; but they cannot upload the file in the internet. On the other hands, there are countries where the whole process of downloading the music and videos from the internet is considered as an illegal activity (Sterne 2014).

The Pros of Downloading Music and Videos from the Internet

One of the major issues regarding the downloading of music and videos is that the music and film industry is facing huge amount of loss in revenue due to this process. It is a fact that if a person is able to download his/her favorite music or video from the internet, he will not buy the CD of that music or video from the store. This process causes a huge amount of revenue loss for the CD companies, singers, actors and others. Not only the CD companies, singers and the actors, there are many other parties that are affecting due to this process like the music technicians, the event and sound technicians, recording studios and the music stores (Aguiar and Martens 2016). In the recent years, the amount of downloading music and videos from the internet has increased massively. This is the reason the musicians all over have been conscious regarding this matter. The reason is that they are facing huge amount of losses due to the download of music and videos from the internet. They are creating many protests about this matter. As a result, it can be seen that many cases are coming to the courts regarding the piracy of music and videos. From this point of view, it can be said that the process of downloading music and videos from the internet is illegal as there is a huge revenue loss in this particular sector. However, there are many cases from where it can be said that this process is legal (Weijters, Goedertier and Verstreken 2014).


As mentioned above, there are many countries where the process of downloading music and videos from the internet is considered as steeling. However, there are people all over the world that supports the process of downloading music and videos from the internet. There are people who consider that downloading music and videos from the internet is not stealing. According to them, steeling and downloading is not the same thing. As per ethical point of view, steeling is wrong; but downloading is not. When someone buys a music CD from a shop, no one else will be able to buy that CD. However, if someone downloads a music video or a song from the internet, all others can download it and no one loses anything (Fink, Maskus and Qian 2016). In the process of downloading music and videos from the internet, the downloaded file is shared. According to the viewpoint of the people of large countries, if they want to share files, the law should allow them to do it. As mentioned above, the download process of music and videos form the internet is affecting the sales. It can be seen that the libraries and video stores also affect the sale of books and music CDs; but they are not considered as unethical (Leung 2015). Then it can also be said that downloading music and videos from the internet is also not an unethical process. Many other factors can be presented as the logics in favor of the downloading process of music and videos from the internet. Among all the countries where people download music and videos from the internet, Australia is on the top. It has been seen in the recent surveys that there Australia has the most number of users who download music and videos from the internet after knowing the fact that the process is illegal (Sinclair and Green 2016).

The Cons of Downloading Music and Videos from the Internet


There are many arguments and debates that are based on the topic that whether the restriction or ban from downloading music and videos from the internet should be abolished or not. There are a lot of point of views both in favor and against of this topic. For coming to a suitable conclusion on this matter, it is important to shed lights on some of those arguments. As per the first argument, some people consider that this is not an illegal process as the system is only creating a copy of the original file and the original copy can be sold. Hence, this is not an illegal process. However, people against this argument believe that copyright laws are there to ensure that the people from creative industries get their desired remuneration. By downloading from internet, people are not paying that money to those people who must be paid. Hence, this is an unethical as well as illegal activity (Miranda and Kim 2015). As per the second argument, people in the favor of the abolishment of the ban states that the pop stars are rich persons are they do not need any more money. If someone downloads music or a music video from the internet, it is not going to make any loss for those pop stars. Hence, it is okay to steel from the riches. However, people against this point of view states that most all of the pop stars and the artists are not rich. Many songwriters, stage performers and artists are struggling to be established in this field. Hence, from this point of view, it can be said that to download music and videos from internet is illegal (Cesareo and Pastore 2014).

In the third argument, people in favor of the abolishment of the ban state that there the record companies are rich enough and they use to take a huge amount of money from the pop stars and the performers. Hence, they believe that process of downloading music and videos from internet will not make any loss to them. As per the people against this argument, it is the fact that the CD companies get a lot of money from the performers; but this fact is also true that the these companies have to invest huge amount of money for each of their new activities. Hence, it is an illegal and unethical activity (Moon et al. 2015). The next argument sheds light on the most important point in this argument. As per the point of view of one group of people, the prices of the music CDs, and music videos are very high and this is the reason most of the people do not have the financial capacity to buy those. Hence, the only way to get those music and videos is to download them from the internet. However, as per the point of view of the other group of people, one just cannot get things free just because they are expensive. The music companies and the pop starts have to incur a lot of money for their each project. Hence, it is not expected to download them from the internet free (Pai and Chie 2017). As per another important argument, a group of people says that they use to download music and videos from the internet because everyone does this. Hence, there is nothing illegal and unethical in this process. In reply, the other group of people states that everyone is doing the same thing does not mean that one has to do the same thing. Thus, the process of downloading music and videos from the internet is an illegal and highly unethical practice (Fiesler, Feuston and Bruckman 2015).

Arguments in Favor of Abolishing the Ban on Downloading


From the above discussion, it can be seen that there are many people who are supporting the abolishment of the ban on the downloading of music and videos; and there many people who are supporting the restriction on the downloading process. In case the restriction is abolished, two best possible scenarios can be happened. In the best-case scenario, the abolishment of the restriction will change the way music and film industry works. The singers and the performers can reach to their target audience in a fast way. On the other hand, the singers and performers can make the promotion of their albums, songs and events in a more specific way. This will be the benefits of the abolishment of the ban. In the worst-case scenario, the portion of earning revenue for the music industry will be decreased in a massive way, as most of the people will stop buying CDs from the stores. On the other hand, it will be more difficult for people to pursue a career in music. There will be new performers, brands, singers and pop starts, but they will not have enough amount of income to support their activities. It has both positive and negative points (Koh, Murthi and Raghunathan 2014).

Based on the above discussion, it can be said that there are both pros and cons of the abolishment of the restriction of downloading music and videos from the internet. Twp points can be considered as strong points in favor of the abolishment of the restriction. They are high price and availability. Due to the high price of the music CDs and videos, people are forced to download them from internet. The availability of these music CDs and videos is another reason for downloads. However, along with these two reasons, one simply cannot ignore the fact that the downloading of music and videos from internet is hampering the incomes of the singers and the business of the music companies. From this point of view, this is illegal and unethical. In order abolish this conflict; some steps need to be taken. The music companies need to make the process of online buying of n music and videos easier so that one can easily buy them. On the other hand, the price of the music CDs and videos need to be reviewed in order to make them more affordable for common people. With the help of these strategies, the interest of both the parties can be saved.

References

Aguiar, L. and Martens, B., 2016. Digital music consumption on the internet: evidence from clickstream data. Information Economics and Policy, 34, pp.27-43.

Belleflamme, P. and Peitz, M., 2014. Digital piracy. Encyclopedia of Law and Economics, Berlin, Springer.

Brown, I., 2013. Copyright technologies and clashing rights.

Cesareo, L. and Pastore, A., 2014. Consumers’ attitude and behavior towards online music piracy and subscription-based services. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 31(6/7), pp.515-525.

Fiesler, C., Feuston, J.L. and Bruckman, A.S., 2015, February. Understanding copyright law in online creative communities. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 116-129). ACM.

Fink, C., Maskus, K.E. and Qian, Y., 2016. The economic effects of counterfeiting and piracy: a review and implications for developing countries. The World Bank Research Observer, 31(1), pp.1-28.

Koh, B., Murthi, B.P.S. and Raghunathan, S., 2014. Shifting demand: online music piracy, physical music sales, and digital music sales. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 24(4), pp.366-387.

Leung, T.C., 2015. Music piracy: Bad for record sales but good for the iPod?. Information Economics and Policy, 31, pp.1-12.

Marshall, L. and Frith, S., 2013. Music and copyright. Routledge.

Miranda, D. and Kim, J., 2015. Peer contagion, lenient legal-ethical position, and music piracy intentions in emerging adults: Mindfulness as a protective factor. Musicae Scientiae, 19(1), pp.3-22.

Moon, S.I., Kim, K., Feeley, T.H. and Shin, D.H., 2015. A normative approach to reducing illegal music downloading: The persuasive effects of normative message framing. Telematics and Informatics, 32(1), pp.169-179.

Pai, C.L. and Chie, B.T., 2017. Illegal downloading of pop music among university students in Taiwan: An agent?based model simulation. Journal of Consumer Behaviour.

Schneider, J.J., 2016. Banned and Burned: Why Worry? It's Just Kiddie Lit.

Sinclair, G. and Green, T., 2016. Download or stream? Steal or buy? Developing a typology of today's music consumer. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 15(1), pp.3-14.

Sterne, J., 2014. There is no music industry. Media Industries, 1(1).

Weijters, B., Goedertier, F. and Verstreken, S., 2014. Online music consumption in today’s technological context: Putting the influence of ethics in perspective. Journal of Business Ethics, 124(4), pp.537-550.

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