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Ethical argument against file-sharing in America | March 11, 2010

NOTE: This paper was on web 2.0. And I had to create an argument for or against something in web 2.0. My subject was “filesharing”. I also want to put a disclaimer, I do use file-sharing systems, I don’t want to be a hypocrite, so I admit I do use it. I simply, however, took a subject, and was indifferent to it, and created an argument against it. That was the object of the essay. My opinion in this essay is invalid and of no weight here. That is the point of the essay, to argue a point, no matter what it may be.

          File-sharing is a system in web 2.0 that allows users to upload and download content to their liking, using sites and servers to do so, this steals intellectual property for the use of the users, and deters artists from what they do best, create, it steals revenue from the companies that produce entertainment, and leads to artists wanting less and less to be creative, as the profits dip lower. Web 2.0 is a second generation of web-based systems. They characteristically have more and more user-generated content and more interactable web pages. File-sharing is one type of system under web 2.0 that allows people to download free entertainment, without reimbursement to the artists that created them. This is illegal and is called internet piracy. It is done millions of times a month, too. When I say artists, I mean the people behind the making of entertainment productions, who create the works.

          Artists are being stifled by file sharing systems. They have less and less incentive to create. Because their work is being given out for free; and they are not being reimbursed for their efforts. When they are not making money for their work, they will not want to do it. File sharing makes it so that their work is distributed but not paid for. It undercuts revenue for these artists. It deters their creativity and then creates lower-quality work, to make up for lost money, and it falls in a downward cycle. Also, the ability to rapidly replicate the data, and the fact that hard copies are not an issue, is unprecedented. Where, there is a virtually limitless supply of the product, and on top of that, it’s free. This drastically changes the landscape of the entertainment industry, and makes it lop-sided, and really unfair, which is one of the underlining reasons of why copyright infringement is wrong, and why it applies to file sharing.

          Musician’s works are being prostituted over the internet in the forms of mp3’s, as well as movies too, and the artists behind those. The entertainment industry is losing a lot of money because less and less people are file sharing movies and music instead of buying them. It creates a virtually unbeatable competitor to production companies that make a living off this. Instead of buying a cd in a store, they could just download a CD for free, infringing on copyright law that takes revenue from artists and production companies. Economically, it changes the landscape of the entertainment industry drastically. It gives free entertainment to people who would buy it otherwise, taking a big piece of revenue from entertainment companies. Lily Allen, an artist, spoke out against file sharing: “Brit singer Lily Allen has taken a stand against Internet piracy, and she has also urged fellow pop and rock stars to follow suit before song stealing destroys the music industry…. fears record company bosses will drastically cut their budgets for new acts if the income from CD buyers dries up…”(Lily Allen, entertainment daily). This is just one example and argument against file sharing. As I mentioned in the above paragraph, on the internet, there is an unlimited supply of the product, the mp3s and downloadable movies. Which, can constantly barrage the industry, and overload it with more of the product; it de-valuing the marketed version of the file shared content. And, not only that, but also, funnels potential customers from buying and just downloading, free.

          Intellectual property, too, is being stolen here. These entertainment creations, and productions, what they made with their own, time, resources, and mind, is being downloaded, for free, and they don’t get any profit for it, for what they worked for. That is infringement on intellectual property; that you can get it, in one click. The reason why they get paid is for the work they did. People work to get paid; they create, with original ideas, to make even more money. When consumers can get it for free, artists don’t get a return on their work, they get stripped on their creation, their property, their intellectual property. Creating your own ideas is where artists make their money, but they can’t if independent companies like Grokster are giving it out for free. This is copyright infringement, and is theft of an artist’s work.

          File sharing short-circuits our economic system. The system I am referring to, is, capitalism. The system is, you work, or create something good, than you reap rewards from your work. But the companies of online business that host file sharing, allow the file sharers to undercut this system, enjoying someone’s or a whole company’s work, for free, not giving back to the person(s) that created it in the first place. This disrupts, to a great degree, the current economic system, and will continue to degrade quality of work, that it is shared constantly, without a balance. This unbalance of consumer take, and then the return, is, not to be repetitive, but, it’s lop-sided. It cannot work if it’s so lop-sided, where one side is creating; wanting to make a profit, but the return is marginal because of online file sharing companies.

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