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Panel 1-E: Current Issues in Cyberspace

My Panel Presentation: File Sharing and Ethics
How many people download music, pictures or movies from the internet? Well it is illegal and theres no simpler way to put it, but that doesn't stop most people. I think we can all remember the days of free Napster which now seems so long ago. I will rat myself out today as a downloading fiend and discuss some of the current issues surrounding File Sharing and Ethics.

Just to give an indication of how popular the file sharing market is I searched on Download.com for file sharing programs and 19 separate ones were found. The one with the highest usage was Kiwi Alpha 1.2 with a 91% user approval rating.

Movie Executives Arguement:
One reason that big whig movie executives get upset over file sharing is because when media is traded freely on the internet than they lose money. The executive perspective is that movies make the bulk of their money on DVD and home video sales and this is taken away once P2P file sharing occurs. The domino effect is that if Hollywood can't make big money, big-budget films will not be made.

An interesting point is made by Kelly Hollowell a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct law professor of bioethics that for years movies have promoted sex, violence etc...and now they call file sharing immoral yet movies probably influenced this immorality.

Its Really Not That Bad:
The argument is similar from recording artists that file sharing has caused slumping CD sales but recent studies have shown this declaration to be untrue. According to a Harvard Business School study, it takes 5,000 downloads to reduce sales of an album by one copy.

If file-sharing had a negative effect on sales, the Harvard study postulates, the motion picture, software and video game industries whose files are also heavily traded, albeit not as much as music files would also be suffering. But sales in those arenas have been increasing. The Motion Picture Association of America reported U.S. box offices took in $9.5 billion, the second largest total in its history. DVD sales continue to increase, and the recording industry announced that CD sales are actually up 14 percent in 2004 compared with the same period last year.

Consequences For Our Actions:
The means to download are endless but then comes the debate about the ethics of media and file sharing. Very recently recording and motion picture industries across the nation have been cracking down on the biggest group of internet pirates out there: COLLEGE STUDENTS. At the local level The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are taking action as well. Last September, Pitt got 44 notices that students illegally downloaded material. A full length article can be found on File Sharing Issues in PA. Beware that some companies do choose to track down internet pirates and prosecute them with legal action.

Other Sites:
File sharing continues to becomes a more popular trend each day. Some other interesting sites regarding file sharing. Link 1 & Link 2

Comments (1)


I blogged about this on my site. http://blogs.setonhill.edu/VanessaKolberg/

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 11, 2004 3:45 PM.

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