Napster Unethical or Ethical Essay

In the music industry various artists work hard in order to make music that many people enjoy listening to. They then sell their music to record companies such as Arista, RCA, Warner Brothers, and Jive, just to name a few. These record companies make multi million-dollar deals with these artists with the intentions that once they distribute the artists’ music to the record stores they will be selling a favorable amount of albums. In today’s ever advancing technology, music is basically being stolen off of the internet through mp3 databases such as Napster and Imesh.

People are able to sign onto the internet, and are able to type in the name of the song, and then are able to download that particular song usually within five minutes. Now the problem becomes; how are the record companies, and most importantly the artists going to make money if their work is basically being given away on the internet? These people who download music do not even have to leave their homes, and they can listen to the hottest, and latest music in the industry.

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The defense stated by Napster is that they are basically advertising the music for the artist for free over the Internet. The consumer is in a sense able to sample the music before they go out, and buy it. There are 200 million multimedia personal computers in the world that are able to download music. The fact is the record companies, and artists are losing money because of databases such as Napster and Imesh. The main reason for this is because once the person has downloaded the song onto their computer they then can burn the song onto a compact disk, and they can listen to the free music in any CD player. So, if they have the song on CD already: why would they go out and buy it? This is one of the biggest crimes going on today these record companies, and hardworking artists are losing money because of the unethical databases distributing music that was not paid for. (Gurley, 268)

Many people feel that when they download the “free” MP3’s that it is not stealing because they are not receiving a tangible object. Who are we kidding anyway, I myself use these free MP3 sources, and I have not bought an album in about two years. What college student in their right mind is going to go out, pay twenty-dollars for an album? Especially if they usually only like two songs from the whole album. I don’t have to waste miles on my car, pay for gas to get to the actual store, and I don’t have to wait in line. I can have that song in five minutes for free without even leaving my house. I believe it is unethical because obviously someone out there is making it possible for poor college students like myself to download music for free. Someone should be taking action to put a stoppage to the free downloading of music. Nothing in this world is for free.(Dvorak,185)

According to the Information and Communications Technology Law journal, it states that there are three rules that the database owners should be following. These rules are as follows: (1) To permit authorized persons to use the database fully, (2) To prevent unauthorized persons from using the database,(3) Lastly, to prevent competitors from copying it in order to create a competitive product. This makes perfect sense, because since Napster and other databases are technically legal they should be regulated. In other words the databases should be controlled by the government somehow, otherwise we won’t have any musical artists music produced because they won’t have any money to keep themselves going. (Conley, 7)

Another point concerning Napster is that it is not all bad. For instance Napster has agreed to sponsor the popular punk band Limp Biskit’s upcoming summer tour. So, Napster has found a way to work with the artist. The deal works as follows: Napster will distribute their music for free, and the way that the artists make the money is by marketing their posters, shirts, and any other kind of memorabilia that is associated with the band Limp Biskit. The one problem with that deal is such artists as Metallica and Dr. Dre do not want to deal with Napster because they produce their own music, and they feel that Napster is bringing them down. Metallica and Dr. Dre have joined together and have brought action against Napster. (Kahn, 51),(Cohen, 158)

The most probable, and at the same time most ethical solution for databases such as Napster is they are forced to work together with the record companies. This is because judges have ruled that these databases have done atleast $250 million dollars in damages to record companies. This would then only make sense that the enemies join to make the music industry even better. The record companies can offer to sell the rights to the databases and then they can turn around, and tell the customers that they will charge a certain amount of money per song downloaded. This way everyone can be made happy because the artist will still be recognized, the record companies can still make money, and then the record companies can have the money to pay the artists for the rights to their music. The record company has to be able to change with the times, and at the same time the government has to take action to prevent databases from distributing intellectual property for free. (Kahn, 52)

The topic of getting MP3’s for free is an ethical topic in every sense. In order to have an economy that is healthy, and works properly; people must have the understanding that should have to pay for what they get. You cannot expect to get something for nothing because somewhere along the lines someone is getting hurt financially. The 19 year old Shawn Fanning was not thinking about what he could do to distribute songs in a fair manner. He did not consult the record companies and try to work a deal with them. He mainly was thinking of a way to make money by selling advertising space on a website. The main point is that in order to make the world go around in a smooth manner their must be a certain amount of moral ethics involved in every business transaction.

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