Internet Remains a Vessel for Illegal Music Downloading

Music piracy is still prevalent amongst young people, and is a method college students employ on campuses across the United States. Though the Internet and record companies have had a love-hate relationship for over 10 years, the combination has provided ways for the recording industry to blossom and progress. The Internet is an entirely new opportunity for musicians around the world, providing easy access to music and easier ways to distribute music to listeners around the globe.

The Internet has also become a digital thief. In the 1990s when the Internet was growing at a substantial rate, over $100 million was lost in the music industry. This was possible due to the increasing illegal act of music pirating.

Music piracy, the illegal copying and distribution of sound recordings, has been popular for over a decade and continues to take money out of the pockets of artists, musicians, producers, engineers, music publishers and talented songwriters.

“It affects the industry because you’re receiving all this music for free and none of the royalties goes to the publishing companies or the artists themselves—they’re losing out on a lot of money," said Bobby Greco, a sophomore.

When the recording industry started to realize their potential downfall with the expanding use of the Internet, they started to create laws to protect themselves along with their artists, producers, and songwriters. The industry even targeted universities and colleges around the country for the excessive illegal acts of pirating music. In 2006, college communities illegally downloaded 1.3 billion music files. Although college students are aware of the potential risks and punishment for illegally downloading music, students around the U.S. still put their own wallets first.

Many shared the mindset that a few illegal downloads will not hurt anybody. Pirating music is another habit that college students cannot break because it starts off with just a couple downloads until they have a library full of music. This thought process can lead down a dangerous and expensive route. College students have been sued and stuck paying exorbitant fines.

Although the music industry has made strides in protecting themselves from music piracy, one in every four Internet users continuously access unlicensed services to receive free music.

Students will continue to pirate music to share with their friends and families.

Greco said, “peer-to-peer file sharing is very influential in school because everyone wants to share their music or have other people experience their music. The only way that is possible is for other people to share music, and a lot of the time that comes through piracy.”