Sample Paper on Napster and Music Piracy

Napster and Music Piracy

The main purpose of passing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) into law was for the act to deal with some of the issues pertinent to digital patent (Barnes, 2012). With the purpose of helping copyright holders safeguard their digital content, the copyright act contains stipulations prohibiting evasion of digital protections and shielding copyright management information. The anti-circumvention stipulations forbid the unlawful circumvention of technological actions, which control access to or limit the use of a copyright-secured material. The use of such technological precautions may involve a secret word or encryption, and breaking the code word is against the law. Copyright management data incorporates the work’s title, the author’s name or copyright holder and other relevant information relating to the holder of the copyright. Thus, removing or changing such information intentionally breaches a stipulation of the DMCA. In a situation whereby the copyright owner withstands the burden of providing the evidence, and the court finds out that the violation was committed intentionally, the court in its judgment may raise the award of legal damages to an amount of not more than $150,000 (Barnes, 2012).

The technology of Peer-to-peer (P2P) media sharing relates to the distribution of digital content by the use of P2P networking technology (Waldfogel, 2012). This type of a file sharing technology enables users to have an access to media contents, such as music and movies using a P2P tool that traces other computers that are connected to a P2P network and hence locating the desired substance. This type of file sharing tool has continually evolved over the last several years, especially from the early networks like Napster, which made it popular, to the incredible and enduring Bit Torrent. This type of media sharing technology has significantly increased the sale of albums and movies. In a study conducted, 32 million American citizens who are above the age of 12 had downloaded a movie from the Internet, 80 % of whom had used P2P to download (Waldfogel, 2012). File sharing is reasonably efficient in cases where the user pays the complete transaction and marginal fee of such sharing.

Although this transaction may be efficient within the normal meaning of the term in economics, it may not be efficient for longer-term incentives of the recording industry. The act of media content sharing is not against the law, and P2P networks are regularly used for genuine purposes (Waldfogel, 2012). However, the legal issues that arise in file sharing involve violation of the laws of copyrighted contents. Despite the fact that P2P networks makes the sale of movies and albums more efficient, this program also facilitates media piracy.

Music piracy has been identified by the recording industry as the major cause for decreasing sales and reduced profits. Music piracy endangers the industry’s existence, and the music industry has struggled to get rid of the practice (Waldfogel, 2012). However, the recording industry was successful in lawfully compelling the termination of Napster, a music distribution network that was the first major threat to the digital era. Nonetheless, the evolution of more sophisticated content sharing networks disrupted its success. These new file sharing tools are so spread out that there is no legal entity to prosecute. Therefore, the music industry is prosecuting individual users with illegitimate music on their devices. Music piracy is a model of end-user piracy, whereby consumers can download music for their own individual pleasure exclusive of any physical transactions, making it more difficult to detect. Besides the music industry, there are other industries, such as movies and video game industries that allege that piracy has contributed in a substantial decline in the sales of their contents (Waldfogel, 2012). These types of entertainment industries are fundamental to the development of other industries, such as advertisement, user electronics, and retail. Therefore, the impact of decreasing sales in the entertainment industry can actually have a negative effect on the economic interests of other industries.


Barnes, P. (2012). Prospects for Protecting News Content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, The. Harv. J. Sports & Ent. L., 3, 201.

Waldfogel, J. (2012). Music piracy and its effects on demand, supply, and welfare. In Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 12 (pp. 91-109). University of Chicago Press.