Illegal Downloads and Who Does It Hurt

The subject of illegal downloads is something that will be discussed for many years to come. It seems that there are several different sides and issues to the subject of illegal downloads. When it comes to the illegal downloading of music, both the artists and the consumers have varying opinions. Some artists have been very vocal against illegal downloads and file sharing while others have used file sharing sites to promote a new album or to introduce a new artist. Consumers seem to lean more towards being in favor of free downloads since there are reportedly billions of illegally downloaded songs. No matter which side you support, until the law is changed, it is illegal to download music without paying for it.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has taken a very aggressive legal stand against what it feels is “piracy” of music because it is taking money away from not only the artists but, everyone involved with the making of an album. This includes the writers, producers, musicians, singers, and the record labels. Lawsuits against file sharing websites like Limewire, Kazaa, and others have instrumental in helping to offset the loss of revenue from the decline in sales of CDs, which it attributes to illegal downloading. The reduction in sales of CDs has also affected the music stores that were once the only means of obtaining new music. The RIAA has not only pursued legal action against file sharing websites but also from consumers. Generally, those legal actions are reserved for those dealing in larger numbers of files shared but, it does not exclude the casual downloader either. With new legislation being considered and laws being passed all the time, anyone participating in the illegal trafficking of pirated music can and will face prosecution.
While the forms of music have changed over the years from vinyl to 8-track, to cassette, to finally CDs and downloadable mp3s, consumers have had to repurchase music to keep up with the changing...