Music Piracy

Music piracy can be defined as the stealing of music.  One scenario could be borrowing a friend's CD and burning a copy for yourself.  Also, downloading music from the Internet if the song's royalties are not paid.

A positive consequence of stealing music is that you get free music for your own personal enjoyment.  You can also profit from piracy.  However, more often than not, piracy will result in the negative consequences.  Caught pirates are sued and occasionally served with jail terms.

In the Constitution, there is a clause that empowers Congress "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." (Article 1, Section 8)  This is the basis for patents.

The Copyright Act states that only the copyright owner has the right "to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords."

Most of us would never even consider stealing something—say, a picture or a piece of clothing —from a friend’s house. Our sense of right and wrong keeps most of us from doing something so selfish and antisocial. Yet when it comes to stealing digital recordings of copyrighted music, people somehow seem to think the same rules don’t apply—even though criminal penalties can be as high as five years in prison or $250,000 in fines. Contrary to popular opinion, illegally downloading or copying copyrighted music is the same as stealing; there is no difference.


Illegal downloading and sharing is stealing

Stealing music is the same as stealing anything else. It is illegal and the consequences are real - for you and for the music.

    * Stealing music is against the law.
    * Stealing music betrays the songwriters and recording artists who create it.
    * Stealing music stifles the careers of new artists and up-and-coming bands.
    * Stealing music threatens the livelihood of the thousands of working people—from recording engineers to Christian music retailers and their staffs —who are employed in this ministry.

Enjoy the music! But please respect copyrights. Stop burning multiple copies. Stop offering to upload music files to millions of users on the Internet. Stop downloading from unauthorized sites.

Effects of music piracy on music consumer

Music piracy doesn’t just affect the music industry, it affects you as well. When you use software that facilitates illegal downloads, you open your computer to unwanted pornography, security breaches, and viruses. Illegal downloading and file-sharing is also subject to federal prosecution. Here are a few facts:

    * The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) can sue for as much as $150,000 per song illegally downloaded.
    * Almost 2000 individuals have been sued by the RIAA for illegally downloading as of March, 2004.
    * More than 400 individuals have settled, paying fines averaging $3000.
    * The Department of Justice recently announced the creation of the Intellectual Property Task Force, which examines all aspects of how the DOJ handles intellectual property issues.

Effects of piracy on musicians

The explosion in illegal copying is affecting the entire music community. It has a very real and harmful impact on virtually everyone - from countless musicians, songwriters, performers, producers, recording engineers and others who use music as their platform for ministry.


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