Online Music Piracy
Online piracy has continued to grow in this digital age. You'll find a large majority of homes equipped with a computer and access to the outside internet. This is for the most part harmless for the average user, but as technology continues to pave the way, a greater ease of access to content is available to anyone who chooses to pursue it. Among this available content is illegal distributions of music, movies, games, and applications, which normally could only be found at a local retail store for a set price.
The prime technology which has enabled the growth of online piracy is known as P2P (Peer to Peer) networking. It is fairly basic in function and operates by two users connecting to a server and then establishing their own direct connection with each other and transferring files of their choosing. The biggest reason for its rising popularity is that the original server that the two users connect to is not directly liable for what content is passed between the users. A large amount of the content passed from user to user could very well be legal and these networks which host such opportunities use that to their legal defense.
The most well known source for such content was once the pioneer of the P2P technology, Napster. While Napster has battled with lawsuit after lawsuit, the owner finally gave up the fight against the RIAA (Recording Industry Associates of America) and chose to team up with other organizations to turn the application into a ‘pay to play' program, which simply meant that the user could pay a small amount and then download the content they wished and comply with copyright laws.
Since the falling of Napster a new king of the P2P technology has risen to fill the void, called Kazaa. Kazaa provides a very similar interface that Napster once did, but rather then only allowing the sharing of music files, Kazaa allows the sharing of any file types. The RIAA of course has filed many lawsuits with Kazaa as they did with Napster, but like Napster, Kazaa continues to try and stay standing. In the meantime the RIAA attempts to disrupt the networks by attempting to share fake files and in turn hope that it frustrates the end user trying to find a music track and have them give up. While this works with a small percentage, the networks have found ways around such tactics.
After months of lawsuits the RIAA finally made the choice to target the end user directly. They issued lawsuits to a handful of Kazaa users which had shared a large amount of content on the networks. This was used as a scare tactic to hopefully make the end user aware that they were not the only ones the RIAA was after. While this did convince a number of users to stop sharing their files, still a good number of users continued and the bullying by the RIAA continues to find ways to out muscle the inevitable.
The RIAA is choosing to try to halt technology when really what they need to do is embrace it and work with it. Many artists approve the use of P2P to distribute their music, but also would like to see some profit from it, which is understandable. Currently music albums are sold on average for between $10 and $16. Firstly this average needs to be lowered. The quality of music production has significantly dropped and the RIAA has not bothered to cope with that. Very few albums are worth such cost. The average artist does not discourage the lowering of album costs, in most part because they don't receive much of the profit from album sales, but guess who does, the record label. This is a game of money and how much can be made. Now that online piracy threatens sales you find the record labels complaining because their system is being challenged. They can come to realize that a change is needed, or they can continue to dump millions into trying to stop individual by individual. Piracy is illegal, but so is theft. If you ask me, the RIAA is doing a great deal of it by