Are You a Pirate?

June 10, 2011
“Wait!” Olivia yelled. “Don’t click that button.”

“Why? It’s only one album.” I said back with my cursor over the download button. With the tap of my finger I had just broken the copyright law. Maybe this has happened to you. If it has, you may know that one album can easily turn into twenty in less than a day. Pirating music is wrong. You shouldn’t have to break the law to enjoy music you love. It’s fast and easy, but the consequences wont be easy on your wallet.

It’s no secret that many people download music online illegally. Some people do it knowing the consequences, some doing it uninformed or unaware. You may think that no one will find out or maybe the music industry wont notice, and many people like to think that. The amount of shipments of recorded music has gone down 26 percent, going from 1.16 billion albums sold to 860 million from just 1999 to 2002; and that’s no secret from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America). Before the 90's, the closest P2P sharing (person to person) ever got was just by sharing CD's with your friends. Fast forward to today there are more than 400 authorized digital music services worldwide offering more than 12 million songs. Although, it's more likely to find people sharing their music files on media sharing sites such as Mediafire and MEGAUPLOAD. You may find yourself asking “What's the harm? It's only a couple songs...” or “Why pay for something you love?” If music is something you love, you shouldn't mind paying for it. Sure, the music industry makes so much money they practically drown in their own wealth. Even so, the artist has to get the money they rightfully earned. Which means if they don't get every penny they deserve it is stealing.

This is such a huge issue in today’s society, that you may think What is anyone going to do about it? The RIAA have been showing scary consequences to teens, and it's been working. You know you’ve got a problem when you get a letter in the mail with either you or your parents name is on it from the RIAA, suing for the unauthorized use of copyrighted materials. If you get caught with copyright infringement, the copyright holder can sue you for damages and/or loss of profits. Suing $150,000 per infringement and, even though it’s unlikely, you could be facing jail time in some cases. Also, stealing music online is just like stealing offline. Maybe some of your buddies dare you to go walk out of the store with a CD. Even if you think it doesn't matter, it really does. Many people who download illegally wouldn't even dare to Shoplift. There’s no difference. Piracy isn't fair to people who buy their music. The average Teenager has about 800 illegal music tracks on their iPod or music player. I was once someone who didn’t care about what I was Downloading or who I was downloading from, but knowing the real facts is a bit scary. Downloading Music without paying is not ok whatever the excuse. Even though man feel that a lot of record companies have way too much money already, it’s not the only issue music piracy causes. The MI is made up of so many people including songwriters, tour mechanics, producers, and advertisers who most likely have families just like you and me to support. These people choose their profession excepting the things they can’t change about it. Songwriters don’t have control over how much the latest CD is, but yet they’re still being effected because of music piracy.

“Digital piracy has almost completely destroyed the profession of songwriting, and is slowly destroying the music industry. Every major music publisher has laid off at least half, and sometimes all, of their professional songwriters. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, songwriter income dropped 32% between 2003 and 2006 alone (for the lucky few who still had jobs).” Said Rick Carnes, president of Songwriters Guild of America.
All in all, I believe that music piracy is wrong. Not only does it hurt the people who rightfully earned the money, but it also isn’t worth the risk of getting sued or going to jail. And I’m sure that many people would agree. So maybe you should think next time, “Is it worth it?”

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