Cover StoryEditorialsNewEditorial: Please Don’t Stop the Music by Sonja Banks

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Downloading music has become the norm. Music has progressively gotta worst and might be the reason why people decide not to buy anymore. Whether this is the reason, music sales has decreased and could possibly stop the music. Take a second and read this Editorial written by Sonja Banks.  The article is a little out dated but means so much more now.        

There is much confusion surrounding the illegality of music downloading. Music piracy is defined as any form of unauthorized duplication and/or distribution of music including downloading, file sharing, and CD-burning. File-sharing programs that offer instant and unlimited access to free music, such as Limewire or P2P, are examples of unauthorized music distributors.

Most people with sound moral convictions have a problem with stealing. Not many people would steal money from their best friend or food from a local grocery store. This is because our sense of right and wrong prevents us from doing such things. The problem with music piracy is that not everyone finds it wrong to download music.  “Everyone does it, I didn’t even know it was really illegal,” said senior, Oscar.

For some, it is hard to find justice in the illegality of music downloading when popular music artists are already well paid, and often flaunt their lavish lifestyles on MTV Cribs or popular magazines.

Sometimes people download music because they may not enjoy every song of an album, and just want to hear one or two songs. Sometimes people download music before they buy an album just to sample the music to see if it is to their liking. Often times, people download music because it is more convenient and compatible for their portable music devices.  “Usually, I download a song just to see if I like it. I buy the real album if it’s from a musician I like,” said senior, Monique.

Those who feel that their illegal actions will go unnoticed on the basis that everyone else does it are mistaken. If you think that no one will find out about your downloading history, think again. Your downloads can be traced by way of an IP address that acts like an inerasable footprint you leave on any websites you download from.

According to U.S. News & World Report, in July of 2009, a Boston University graduate student was ordered to pay a total of $675,000 in damages for illegally downloading 30 songs and sharing them online.

Stealing music hurts everyone. It diminishes the hard work of songwriters and recording artists, it stifles the careers of new artists and up-and-coming bands, it tapes foreclosure signs on music store windows, and it puts the music industry in danger. Reporting Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated claims that the music industry is at a 20% revenue loss since 1999.

Senior, Briaja Lloyd fears that music piracy stifles her possibility of breaking into the music industry. “I’m an aspiring singer, and I don’t want anyone stealing from me.”

Perhaps the lack of remorse for stealing music stems from the widespread misconception that illegally downloading music won’t personally affect you. Once you download music to your computer, you have opened yourself to security breaches, viruses, and programs that can contain tracking devices and spyware that expose your computer and personal information. ” I used Limewire once and my computer got a virus.  I immediately stopped using Limewire and opened up an itunes account,” said A.S.B. Advisor, Mr. Camacho.

Many people feel that music should not be exclusive, and that there is no validity to the idea that music is private property.

“It’s not like stealing a car or a hat, you can’t steal something you can’t touch,” says senior, Oscar.

Is illegal downloading wrong? The answer to this question depends on your personal beliefs and moral convictions. Is illegal downloading against the law? That answer to this question, regardless of how firmly you disagree with it, is yes. Regardless of how you feel about illegal downloading, there is no escaping the fact that it is illegal and punishable by law. RIAA states that criminal penalties for downloading copyrighted music can be as high as five years in federal prison or $250,000 in fines for just one song.

There are alternatives to illegal downloading. It is legal to download music from reputable sites that have permission to distribute music, such as iTunes, Napster, or Rhapsody.   Most songs costs about one dollar, but there are also free songs that are available to download.  $675,000 is much steeper a fine than the $30 you would have spent on the same music.

Musicians have a right to the music they create. If mass illegal downloading of music does not stop, the music industry will continue to suffer. If you truly value the music you are stealing, you should find no problem in spending a few dollars.

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