Music Piracy: An Ethical Perspective

Pretty much everyone in their lifetime has downloaded music illegally at least once. Wether it was that new song you just had to have, or an entire album you couldn’t afford, music piracy happens everyday. In fact, since us as Americans love to be first in just about everything, we also take the gold in music piracy with the most illegal downloads.

Music Piracy

Most illegal downloading of music is off of torrent sites like The Pirate Bay or BitTorrent. These sites allow users to easily download full length albums, individual songs, and even videos of live performances with just the click of a button.

But what about all the ethics behind this? Does society have any morals left? Do we really have to steal all these media all the time? To be short, yes. Society has become more obsessed with fast paced consumerism then ever before. We as society care more about getting the product we need right now then we do the moral and ethic ideals we might be breaking. In fact, nearly 75% of people find nothing wrong with music piracy. We simply do not care that we are stealing from these artists.

Music Piracy

There are tons of opinions out there against music piracy and there are just as many for music piracy. So, where does society actually stand today? I personally believe that music piracy is inevitable, no matter what the government or record label companies try to do people will still find a way to get what they want. These artist and music companies are already making a fortune, so I really don’t see the big deal about music piracy in todays society because it is virtually unpreventable.

Some people think that music piracy simply doesn’t exist anymore because of music streaming platforms like Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube. Bobby Owsinski, a writer for Forbes makes a good point in his article titled, The Lie That Fuels The Music Industry’s Paranoia,

After all, what’s the point of clogging up your hard drive with songs that you rarely listen to when you can have access to literally millions more any time and any place you want, and a lot more conveniently too? And why try to steal a song from a Torrent when you’re not sure if what you’re downloading is the original song or if it’s encrypted, corrupted or spoofed? You can waste a lot of time just trying to find a usable song to listen to. Who needs that?

He has a point, but I still think that music piracy is a little more prevalent then he believes. Just from personal experience, I know that my close friends and I still do it, and I see other people constantly doing it. I believe yes, these platforms have given us a gateway to “ethical” music listening, but at the end of the day if I want that song I am going to download it.

The more time I have spent researching this topic, the more I have really gotten to see all these ethical perspectives from different sources. I came across a really cool, and eye-opening video that I think points out a lot of good points involving music piracy. Take a look: 

Overall, I think music piracy in todays society is gonna happen wether the government and record label companies want it to or not. Ethically, it is clear that society has completely thrown away the fact that music piracy is illegal and it is stealing from the artist. This topic of music piracy is a great way to show just how powerful consumerism is today, and how much it actually does effect society wether we realize it or not.


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