Ethics of Music Piracy

The one thing that makes humans so complex when compared to other species is their possession of free will or more importantly free thought. Each individual is capable of having unique opinions and thoughts regarding the everyday events that occur around them. When people come together as a group how is it possible to define what is right and wrong when each person may have an individual definition for what “right” and “wrong” is. Ethical systems attempt to define what is right or wrong to do within a society. However just like the individual there are many different ethical systems and each society may choose to follow a different one.

From my perspective I understand that technically downloading music is illegal, but I am also fully aware that the following are also by technicality illegal: singing “Happy Birthday” in a restaurant, recording a movie on a VCR and watching it twice while fast forwarding through the advertisements, writing fan fiction, showing a purchased copy of a movie to a class full of kids, reading any forum that has an article posted from another website, or copying an image of the internet and saving it on your computer. I do download music from the internet and I am fully aware that it is illegal, but I also believe it is extremely unreasonable to pay $.99-1.25 for a single song off an album that I do not truly own. What I mean by that is that all of these songs come with various protections such as DRM which prohibit you from using the song on certain devices, other computers, and other software programs. If I paid for a song why do I not have full access to this song? I believe that to be unfair. This is why I download songs so I can control them the way I want and get them at the quality I want. Have you ever realized you pay for a song encoded at 128kb (garbage in the music world) when you can go on torrents and download the song for FREE at studio quality? In this case less is not more. If the industry expects us to pay for music (or even videos) shouldn’t they offer items that are of higher quality then what can be found on the internet?

Further, many will argue that the music industry loses profits when people pirate music. However, there has been little indication of a recession in the music industry. People will always buy music. The truth is that only a relatively small percentage of the human population actually downloads music illegally and it can easily be argued that this small population actually aids the music industry by “promoting” their music.

Share your thoughts and opinions!

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