LABJ FORUM: No Pay to Play
The ability to download music for free off the Internet has transformed the recording industry, contributing to declining CD sales and frustrating artists and record labels. Even as steps are taken to crack down on piracy, music lovers continue to get their beats from the Internet. So the Business Journal asks:
Do you think it’s proper to download music off the Internet, even if it’s illegal?
White & Case
No, I don’t, because it really is just a newly invented way of getting access to something that somebody else owns. Absent new Internet technology, you wouldn’t be able to take somebody else’s music. So it’s wrong.
General Manager of English Language Programs
Frankly, it’s not OK, but it’s certainly tempting. I think it needs to follow the same copyright laws as a CD would. Just because of the delivery system, it doesn’t mean music on the Web should be exempt from those laws. But I have no idea how it could be controlled.
Rod S. Berman
Chair, Intellectual Property Department
Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP
I think it’s absolutely illegal. It’s just like stealing candy from the store.
Co-owner and Manager
I don’t think it’s a black and white issue. As a music lover and friend of musicians, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the issue. I do think that anytime music is made more available it’s a good thing, but I’m also interested in protecting the rights of musicians and creative people and the ownership of their work.
DJ and Record Label Owner
I’m OK with downloading both legal and illegal music. Some artists put their own music out on the Web, even if it is illegal. They want the exposure. There are artists who’ve made a lot of money and gained exposure after putting their songs out on the Web, like Shaggy and The Roots. I personally put my music out without getting paid for it because I’m interested in getting exposure and for me, it’s about the art. But for the record labels it has nothing to do with the art of music, it’s all about the money.
No, I don’t think it’s right, because people work very hard to make the music they create. It takes lots of blood, sweat and tears to create art. Artists and the people who work with the artists should be compensated for their time.
This whole “Everything is free if it’s on the Internet” philosophy isn’t fair to creative people, but the record industry has brought online piracy upon itself by refusing to keep up with the technology and grossly overcharging for inferior products.