Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Piracy: Can Anything Really Be Done?

After watching RiP! A Remix Manifesto as well as reading more articles on piracy, I just don't think that piracy is an issue that can actually be dealt with.

In my first post, I said, "The internet does harm copyright owners and their livelihoods, but I think it enhances creative industries like music and movies."

I went on to say that "since people are aiming to share this content, it's basically a form of advertisement for music and movies from a different standpoint. Copyright and Fair Use are on opposite sides of a thin line, but since it's so easy to cross it, I'm unsure of whether this issue can be completely taken care of. "

However, I do feel sympathy for the people who hold the rights to their items of copyright. They should indeed get paid if their product(s) are being distributed without their consent. If I made a song and knew that my work was being shared via peer-to-peer programs and such, I would definitely be upset that my hard work and dedication is being distributed without me receiving proper compensation. This is exactly what's been happening to artists in today's music industry and many of them have been fighting back.

Digging deeper, the music industry has started to crack down on search engines and file hosting websites, which play a big role in that redistribution factor in the ability to download music for free. Search engines can narrow the field of where to acquire music from while these file hosting sites like MediaFire provide the necessary links to quickly download the version(s) that people are looking for. In a recent article by PC World: Business Center, lawmakers have started to question if search engines contribute to piracy and should stop showing results for websites that infringe copyright and sell counterfeit products, or at least be held accountable.

Without a doubt, the music industry has been hurt by piracy. It's harder for a lot of new artists, and even some old, to maximize their profits from CD sales since their albums and "singles" get leaked before and even during the release dates. This has made it incredibly difficult for mainstream recording artists to reach the platinum status since the means of acquiring their music digitally has become prominent. As far as curbing illegal downloading, the RIAA should effectively push the idea to weaken and slow the rate of piracy in today's world.

I'm unsure if the RIAA can absolutely stop piracy from occurring, but at least states are forcing for anti-piracy laws, which is a start. According to Sharon Pian Chan of the Seattle Times, "The Washington state Legislature has passed a law making it illegal for manufacturers that use pirated software to sell goods in the state." Piracy not only affects music, but movies, games and technology alike.

There's no denying that something has to be done.... but can it?

No one knows but steps are being mapped out to alleviate these companies and artists of the growing piracy pains.

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