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Nature of Logic and Critical Thinking

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Downloading Illegal Music

Recording music has been in the United States since the beginning of the 1880's. Music is a part of everyone, for entertainment, for developing human cultures, and to express ideas and thoughts. Music is now obtained by the easiest of means, easier than going to the store or borrowing a CD from a friend, by downloading it online. Many do it for free via different small websites. Downloading music from the internet is good for all parties.

A year ago, if you wanted to download music from the Internet, the only way to do it was so called "illegally". Different companies are making money out of the websites, as downloading music online becomes explosively popular. Some music artists have realized that the MP-3 format is a great way to promote what they're doing, especially if they don't have unlimited access to the radio or MTV. Yes, they are losing a lot of business, but it's because they have lost touch with the new generation of youth. It's a battle that they're really going to be able to win. They're losing valuable time catching up with technology and figuring out where the industry really needs to go next.

The youth who are downloading MP-3s don't even feel as guilty as they would if they were stealing penny candy. They feel so alienated from the music business and all the money related to the music business.

It is not going to be easy to solve the problem by suing 12 year olds and 72 year olds for downloading too much free MP-3. Most college students today have downloaded an extraordinary amount of MP-3s.

And it's not just the big bosses at the RIAA are focusing on money making -- artists, particularly new artists, want an opportunity too. They can use the opportunity of websites offering free downloads as a way to get their music out. Most people who are downloading music are doing it for hard to find songs, not afraid to pay $10 for a CD. It's not going to be about EMI and Sony or any other big record company owning and basically putting whatever they want out. Now, it gives the opportunity for other bands to get out there, use the Internet as a tool to promote their music without the major labels, the huge advances, without the agents and stuff, and they can develop as their own independent business and make money. Exposure is the best way to make money, something the major records are not doing and blaming it on "illegal downloading" or web pirates. Still don't believe downloading is right?

Okay, let's step back for a moment. If the music industry is going to take such drastic action, there are two distinct questions that needs to be answered:

1) Is downloading free music off the Internet theft?

2) Is downloading free music off the Internet wrong?

If you believe the music industry, the answer to the first question is YES. But, if we examine things a little logically, we can see that downloading MP3 music is NOT theft.

The thought from the music industry often use is that downloading music off the Internet is no different than stealing a CD from a shop. This is not even close to the truth.

When you steal something, you take something away from the person it belonged to. When you take a CD from a store, it is theft because you are taking it away from the store (they no longer have it after you have done your bad deed). Someone still has to pay for the costs of producing the CD, packaging it, shipping it, and so forth. They are losing

money/property from your action.

But, when you are dealing with information, you can copy it an unlimited number of times, but the original creator can still have the original copy. If someone copies a file from your computer, you still have that file on your hard disc.

The only way the music industry can claim they have lost money is based on the presumption that you would have otherwise bought that album in a shop. The evidence seems to indicate that, although people download individual songs from the internet, they often then actually go out and buy the album anyway! Album sales have actually increased in the last few years, especially in the R&B area. In a way, MP-3 downloads are being used as marketing samples for albums, the same reason newer and



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