File Sharing…Simply No Right Answer





2/3/04


English Comp 102


Essay 2


Over the past few years the concept of file sharing has exploded into not only popularity, but also into controversy as record labels started to experience a decline in their sales. I download songs almost everyday, and it never crosses my mind that it is illegal, or that I would ever consider an alternative to the way that I do it now. It is simply that it is the way I’ve grown up; I discovered the first popular program that allowed for file sharing, “Napster”, many years ago, before I really had either the desire or the money to purchase CD’s. Many people and record labels have started to say that this idea is teaching the youth of our nation to turn into a group of thieves, lacking of morals and a sense of what is right. I feel that idea is ridiculous, I download music all the time, yet I’ve never stolen a thing in my life and I consider myself to have excellent morals.


Millions of people utilize these systems; I personally don’t know a single person that doesn’t know how to download the music they want any time of the day. So does this mean that our entire culture is full of thieves? I don’t think so. The reason why file sharing is so widely used, in my view, is for a few reasons. First, it is convenient. I no longer have to drive to the music store and search through thousands of CD’s, all I have to do is type in the name of the song that I want, wait three to five minutes, and the song is mine. Another reason that so many people use file sharing is because it is free, of course. Why would I go buy an entire CD for $15.00, when I probably only like one or two songs on it anyway, if I can get that same couple of songs for FREE. It isn’t that I like the idea of stealing; it’s simply the fact that I’d rather not spend money on something if I can get it for free. Would you give someone money for a text book if your friend said he would let you have their copy? Probably not.


While I am fairly biased when it comes to the issue of file sharing, I do understand some of the effects that it may have. It does obviously take away some of the money that the artists would be making if we bought their CD’s, but lets dig a little deeper into this idea. The groups that have really been out spoken about file sharing have been people who are obviously millionaires already (Metallica is a perfect example), and smaller groups that aren’t making any money want people sharing there songs so that there name gets exposed. So is it really a big deal that Limp Bizkit won’t make another million dollars this year, when they have already made 10 million? I personally don’t think so.


Many people also feel that the morals that this idea instills in the youth of our nation are negative, but most of the people downloading music don’t even think about what is wrong with the idea, or that it is illegal for that matter. Just because little Johnny downloaded his favorite song does not mean that he is going to go steal something, or that he now thinks that stealing is ok. If anything, it is teaching kids how to solve technical problems. Frankly, it is not that easy to just start downloading music, there are several complex steps that you must go through before you can obtain this music, and I think that it is great if younger children can figure out how to do something so complex. I am definitely not worried that they are going to break into my house and steal something from me later in life solely due to the fact that they knew how to download music when they were younger.


After reading two excellent articles concerning this new technology of File Sharing, I must admit that I no longer had the same ideas about the process and the legality of the idea. Both articles were written