P2P Music Sharing

26Feb06

This is just something I wrote for school

Since we were little kids we were always taught to share. Since the time when you shared a mud pie with a friend to the time when you share your joy and your tears with your friends, sharing was very important. Of course there are simple ways of sharing things like books, lunches and music. If you don’t want to buy a CD, you can borrow one from a friend. Well, why not borrow it from someone in Brazil? Because that’s what P2P is. How can sharing something be illegal?

 

P2P sharing works on a simple concept. If someone has a file on their computer they want to share, someone else can download it from them. To do this both people need to download and install a small program, and do a simple search. Of course, in order to download some music from someone, you need to be giving some out, so it’s a constant game of give and take. P2P music sharing does more good than it does harm, and should be legal.

 

Music companies like Sony, and the RIAA are constantly fighting this. This has been outlawed in the United States due to the fact that the music industry is losing money. Sony has gone so far as to install illegal software on their CD’s, so they track how the person listens to their music. On the other side, there are millions of people who use these programs as a way to find new music, and it encourages them to buy albums and go to concerts. P2P downloading of music is simply a way of sharing your music with people around the world, and should not be illegal. If anything, trying to fight it should be.

 

As almost any argument, this one has two sides, there are pros and there are cons. The prime con that the RIAA, recording companies and some artists are stating is fairly obvious. Because people can download this music for free, they are not buying the CDs. An obvious counter argument is the fact that that’s not necessarily true. People who use these programs listen to music they download, and if they like it they go to the concerts, and they buy the CDs and they buy the posters. Maybe in the end it’s not bad. Bands like Franz Ferdinand encourage it, because they know that P2P will give them even more exposure, and more people will listen to them.

 

Again, another argument to allow P2P sharing is that it’s sharing. If it’s not illegal to borrow a friend’s CD, why is it illegal to borrow it from a person you don’t know? Internet isn’t cheap, high-speed cable costs about 45 dollars a month, plus modem rental or purchase can be a hefty sum. If people pay so much for their internet, shouldn’t they have access to everything that’s available on the internet? If someone chooses to make their music available to others, they should be able to use it without concern.

 

Another very important concept is not as obvious as the others. Making music is work, but so is everything else, so why should musicians be privileged? They make a few albums, play a few concerts, and then they earn royalties for the rest of their life. How is that fair? Some might say that making music requires a lot of talent, and not everyone can do it. Well, it takes talent to be an electrician, a carpenter or a courier, but they have to work long hours to earn their bread. Recording companies get enormous amounts of money as it is, and they still want more. They are greedy, and that is their downfall. They say that P2P robs them, but maybe it’s not that. Maybe the quality or music has fallen. More and more of my friends are listening to old music, like Queen, because it is obviously better. If there was better music, there would be better sales.

 

There was an ad campaign that stated that if people continue to download music, artists will not get enough money, and music will die. That is completely false. First of all, musicians are getting more than enough money from tours, CDs, posters, merchandise and brand endorsements. P2P is a very fast, cheap and easy way for new artists to be heard. It is fast promotion, something that was not possible before. More and more garage bands are getting out there and spreading their songs. If anything there are more bands, and more music. You just need to find it. Music is far from dead.

 

There is one more unobvious positive effect of P2P. A lot of people can afford at least some kind of internet connection. Even free internet can be used by purchasing a 30 dollar wi fi card for your computer. On the other hand, not everyone can afford to buy CDs in a regular basis. P2P bring music, and culture to almost anyone, almost anywhere.

 

P2P sharing and P2P software like Kazaa have been sued a number of times. Some have converted to legal – like Napster, some were already like that. iTunes have sold a billion songs on their service – that’s probably about 700 million dollars. That’s not a small amount, considering that there are basically no expenses. Except for software development, Apple didn’t have to buy CD’s, get artists, and buy covers and so on. That’s almost pure profit.

 

Sharing was something that we were taught to do since we were little children. Now corporate giants like Sony are trying to make sharing illegal. That seems morally wrong to me. P2P shouldn’t be a crime; in fact it should be encouraged. It gives young artists more exposure, and seasoned ones bigger audiences. It’s not killing music, it’s making music available to everyone. It’s not stealing money from artists. It’s taking money from lazy ones and giving it to ones who deserve it. The prime concept of P2P is so right, there is no way it can be considered wrong.  After all, you only get what you give.

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6 Responses to “P2P Music Sharing”

  1. That was long… but you’ve mentioned smart points.

    Concerning what you said about friends sharing CDz, you said it’s the same as P2P sharing. Well, in the first case, one of you has actually bought the CD. And if you buy something, it’s yours. You can do whatever you like with it. You can share it, or even just break it.
    But in P2P, usually the 2 users, giver and receiver, had not bought the CD. So that’s not sharing if you define sharing as: “Giving something you bought to someone”. Plus, if you lent your friend a CD, he’d listen to it, and then give it back to you — and if he liked it, he’d buy it. In P2P, that doesn’t happen.

    However, if you think about it in a deeper way, you might ask yourself: “Didn’t the ‘first’ person who distributed that CD actually bought it?”. Here lies the controversy.

    My own theory is that P2P is not illegal, and doesn’t cause considerable losses to music companies. Why? because usually those who use P2P are unable to buy the CDz or whatever, so even if P2P is banned, they would’t afford buying them. So in either cases, they are not giving the company any profits. I am one of them. Here in Egypt, multimedia products are very expensive, not to mention the high-speed internet cost.

    However, some people that afford that just use P2P saying: “Why would we spend money when we can get what we need free of charge?” — This happens a lot.

    So to sum it up, I think P2P is legal provided that its users are ‘really’ unable to buy the stuff, and not just using it because it’s free.

  2. All of those are very good points, thanks. They are all very true, and appreciated. Thanks a lot for the feedback.

  3. Thanks, everybody.

  4. 4 Candy

    I like it. Excellent points. 🙂

  5. 5 Maynard

    I agree with all the points that have been made in this topic i dont believe that it is illegal because I myself have discoved bands by myself or by a friend telling me about them by sending me songs that i would never have heard about any other way and yes i have gone out and baught the CDs so i dont see why it is such a bad thing

  6. Very well done, and even the rebuttal in one of the responses was well written. The points you had were striking, and it was very well put together. I am currently doing a research paper on said subject, and i found the perfect site i can use quotes from. Not only did you help me write my paper, but your helping people see the few points of a P2P sharing program such as limewire or kazaa. They were hard to find, and you found them :]


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