Peer File Sharing Research Paper

797 Words 4 Pages
The Legality of Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and its Effects on the Media Industry
The introduction of the internet to mainstream America was a marvelous time. It ushered in an era of interconnectedness and open communication. The internet also facilitated the transfer of information from one side of the world to the other. But as it seems with every new technology, people quickly began to exploit the abilities of the internet for their own personal, and commonly illegal, purposes. Along with the introduction of the internet came other technology that improved the process of copying files. Whereas previously copying a video or a song would cause the quality to deteriorate, one could now copy a piece of digital media multiple times with no
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Now most anyone in any First World country, and even some in Second and Third World countries, have the ability to stream or download a copyrighted work just by using their computer. “Millions of copyrighted works are available online, and the number is growing as music downloading became one of the fastest-growing activities on the Net in 2000” (Langenderfer, Cook, & Gundlach, 2001, p. 280). This fast-growing activity has cost media industries millions of dollars in revenue. One of those media industries affected by digital piracy is the music industry.
In 1999, US music shipments jumped from $7.5 billion in 1990 to $14.6 billion. By 2008 though, the shipments were back down to $8.5 billion. (Albany Reference add here) While there are many reasons that this drop may have happened, some citing a drop in music quality as the cause, this sharp drop in sales came about around the same time that the peer-to-peer file sharing website Napster was introduced in 1999. Some even estimate that digital piracy costs the music industry $300 million per year (Langenderfer, Cook, & Gundlach, 2001, p.
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That’s why the motion picture industry has begun to put warnings before their films that state:
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment. (Intellectual Property Theft)
There are a couple laws that have been passed against copyright infringement such as 17 U.S.C. § 506(a). 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) states that it is considered infringement if a person is copying “for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain”, to distribute “including by electronic means, during any 180–day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000”, or “distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution”(17 U.S.C. § 506(a)). Beyond that, acts have been passed to help combat and to further define copyright infringement. Although

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