MP3 I Want My MTV The Ethical Implications of Downloading Mp3s
What is the RIAA? • Recording Industry Association of America • Represents +500 companies related to musicians, artists, and producers • Members are responsible for 90% of the music released in the U.S. • Includes: BMG, EMI, Sony, Tommy Boy, etc.
According to the RIAA... • Online Piracy • Playing or downloading songs and lyrics from the Internet… • Without authorization • Without compensating the artists • Downloading even one song is piracy, even if it is not resold.
The RIAA is a large proponent of the SDMI • Secure Digital Music Initiative • Blueprint of standards for electronics manufacturers and software engineers • Designed to limit the number of times a music file can be copied • Helps to enforce copyrights • Will likely go the way of the Betamax • Would take away freedoms and institute rules where there presently are none • Not consumer friendly
What have they done about MP3s? • Legislate • v. Diamond (Rio) • Lost. Court found Rio wasn’t a “digital recording device” and therefore not subject to government regulation • v. Mp3.com (Instant Listening and Beam-it) • Ongoing. RIAA claims lawsuit has nothing to do with MP3s, only with the fact that mp3.com copied 45,000 CDs they did not license. • v. Napster • Ongoing. RIAA found virtually all traffic across Napster’s servers was illegal, even though Napster does not actually host any MP3 files.
Also, the RIAA has… • Harassed • 71 Carnegie Mellon students had internet privileges revoked in November, 1999 • Result of unannounced, random search of 250 student files, some were password protected. • Dean of Student Affairs at CMU said search was instigated by RIAA after they threatened the University with legal action
RIAA’s Soundbyting Campaign • 300 universities around the country • According to RIAA, has resulted in a 10% drop in university music sites offering illegal downloads
“We’re finding sites with fewer songs available for download. . .” -From RIAA’s 1999 MidYear Anti-Piracy Report
“…are becoming harder to find.” -Frank Chreighton RIAA Senior Vice President Director of Anti-Piracy
Where can I find MP3s? • The Web • AudioFind.com, mp3.lycos.com • Napster / Macster • www.napster.com, www.macster.com • AppleTalk Network • Choates, Mass Row, River Cluster, etc... • Your Hard Drive • Admit it.
Official Release Date: February 29, 2000
How much does the industry lose? • “$5 billion every year to piracy worldwide--$1 million a day in the U.S.” • Some math: • $1 million X 365 days = $365 million/yr in U.S. • $5 billion - $365 million……hmmm… • Are college campuses really doing that much damage?
Will the MP3 boom destroy the industry? • By midyear 1999, U.S. market had sustained 1998’s “phenomenal increases,” and added 7% growth in sales. • Net value of all products shipped in the U.S. = $6.0 billion by midyear 1999 • “CD Album Product at an All-Time High” -RIAA 1999 Midyear Shipment Report
Can MP3s Be Used for Good as Well as Evil? • Mp3.com also provides a distribution service for unsigned bands • 56,000 songs from 11,000 artists • Band “Red Delicious” has #2 hit on the site’s Top 40, and will open for Tom Petty • Has 3rd top selling CD on Mp3.com’s DAM label • Total CD sales? 600. • But, has received calls from several major labels due to their exposure on the website
Many Artists Support Mp3s • “I love the freedom…You don’t have to answer to A&R...We don’t have to play by anyone else’s rules.” • Darryl McDaniel, Run D.M.C. • “What you’ve got is…a balancing out…everybody will have to share a little bit more” “The beautiful thing now is I’ll have a producer, I’ll have an artist, and he’ll go and cut a song and the next day it’s up…It’s like -- boww! -- it’s out.” • Chuck D, Public Enemy
My Opinion • Downloading illegal mp3s is, technically, ethically wrong • Analogous to walking out of a music store with an armful of CDs without paying • Cheats the artists, the stores, and the record companies • RIAA claims this piracy is why the price of CDs continually increases
But it just feels SO good... • Great for those one-hit wonders • “Video Killed the Radio Star,” “867-5309” • Who really wants to buy those albums? • Who wants to pay $20 for a CD, regardless? • Many believe MP3 craze was fueled by exorbitant in-store music prices • Perhaps not as rampant as RIAA would like you to believe • Mp3’s are “basically a rich white kid’s game.” • Scott Smith, president of Digital On Demand • Meaning, there’s a select crowd with access, and even fewer who choose to use it. • RIAA: Too little, too late • Left picking up the pieces.