Arguments for and against downloading and sharing music off the internet?Arguments for and against downloading and sharing music off the internet?

Asked on by roodey

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The biggest argument against sharing music is that music is under copyright and owned by the artist. When you file share, you are essentially preventing that artist from getting the money he has coming to him. Although you bought the song, you do not have the right to give copies of it to anyone you want.
lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

There are lots of arguments both ways on this subject. I think it comes down to is it a legal issue or only an ethical issue. I think it would be hard to argue that it is not a legal issue considering the artists own the rights to their music and it is being taken without any compensation.

howesk's profile pic

howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

You might also consider debating whether taping music off the radio is different from downloading free music online. Music on the radio is available at no cost to the listener, but is it intended to be recorded in any way? What role does radio play in music file sharing, if any?

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It's not just stealing money from the stores or the music company or even the artist; it's also stealing someone's property.  The songwriter and the singer have the right not to have their words and music taken without compensation. This is intellectual property, and taking it without permission should be considered a criminal act--despite the fact that "everyone is doing it." 

besure77's profile pic

besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Some music artists view pirated music as a promotional tool. In other words, their music is getting out there and being heard, even though they are not receiving any money for it. They are basically getting their names out there and in return receiving money from things such as concerts, etc.

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

That's a great list in the first post.  I can't improve on it much, but you might also want to think about the effect pirated music has had on the music industry, in that it is much harder for a band to succeed financially when their property, songs they have created, can be so easily stolen.  On the other hand, the web and downloading allows many bands that would never be heard at all to get their music out to the public for a very low cost.  Notice there is a free download of the week on iTunes, and it is usually artists that are not household names.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

We cannot write essays for you on this site, but here are some issues that you might want to think about:

  • Is there any way to argue that file sharing is not stealing?  How can you differentiate between taking the music for free off the internet and taking it for free out of a store?
  • Can you argue that it's okay as long as you weren't going to buy it anyway?  Can you say "I was never going to buy that so downloading it won't actually hurt anyone."
  • Is there any way to justify file sharing other than on the grounds that it is nice for the people who do it?   In other words, can you think of any reason why it is morally acceptable to do it?  I can't, but if you can, you should put that in your paper.
  • You might want to form your argument around the issue of why file sharing is so popular.  Do you think that there is something about the younger generation that makes them more willing to pirate music?  Or is it just that they are the first generation to be able to?
  • What about the file sharing sites?  Maybe you could write about what the law should say about the sites.  Are they breaking the law or are they just providing a service that can be used for good or bad?
  • What should happen to people who pirate music?

All of these are issues that you might want to explore.

thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

I think that a good for argument would be that, if you bought it, there should be no reason why you can't download it, and perhaps share it. Putting it on a site for others to illegally download is not a good type of sharing, and you could get into big trouble for it, but people buy songs and put them on websites such as YouTube for others to listen to all the time. 

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