File Sharing, Right or Wrong?

Earlier this week, during class we watched a video called What Do You Think? The video is a short documentary discussing file sharing.  In the video we see several college students express their opinions and views on file sharing and intellectual property.  There was also a survey done in the same light as the video, here are its results:

According to the IP Institute’s March 2006 survey of college students, more than one-third (34 percent) of college students are illegally downloading music from free peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Thirty-nine percent say they pay for downloads, while two in five college students say they never get music online. Among other findings:

  • The two most popular locations for downloading were college campuses (53 percent) and students’ parents’ homes (19 percent)
  • Of those who never download music (free or paid), 53 percent equate it to “stealing” while 44 percent don’t see a problem with it
  • More than half of respondents (54 percent) said they weren’t sure whether illegal downloads were against their college or university’s policies
  • Almost three in four students (71 percent) said that illegal downloads “hurt record companies,” and more than half (56 percent) said they “hurt established musicians.”
  • 74 percent said downloads “help up-and-coming musicians,” ostensibly because the students believe the file-sharing helps to increase the musicians’ exposure
  • 14 percent of students use “work-arounds”—software employed to counter the anti-copying technologies used by programs like iTunes.

From my point of view, file sharing, particularly the downloading of music is ethically challenged as there are points to be made when talking about file sharing in a positive light but at the same time one should be able to see the possible harm that it can cause for those involved in the creation of the work. What do you think of the matter?

Survey information taken from http://law.richmond.edu/about/centers/ipi/ncep.html

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One thought on “File Sharing, Right or Wrong?

  1. I think one of the reasons downloading illegally isn’t seen as bad as walking into a store and taking merchandise is because of the free and open nature of the internet. The internet is a generously lending phenomenon. To be honest, I think humanity in it’s current socioeconomic state is not mature enough to fully immerse in the free form nature of the internet. Technology is an extension of us and the internet is its spirit – so to speak. Right now ethics are going against the grains of the internet, and this is where I believe all the confusion spews from.

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