I take my iPod everywhere. It is practically my BFF! I love my tunes so much, but I read somewhere that you’re not supposed to download songs for free. What’s up with that?
I am only a teenager with a part-time McJob. There is no way I could pay for all my music, so I don’t think it’s fair that some adults out there want to charge us for stuff that we can get for nothing! Besides, everybody else does it, so what difference does it make? I’m sure iTunes isn’t going to fold up and die if I don’t use their site, and I don’t see how come they should have my money.
I’m going to keep downloading from the free sites, but I feel just a little guilty about it. I’m not doing anything wrong, right?
Dear Downloading Diva,
Here’s what’s up with downloading songs for free.
1. File sharing copyrighted material is illegal.
I thought I would mention this first, because it ought to matter. True, it is not like a police officer will show up at your door to arrest you or give you a ticket or anything, but that is only because they can’t track you down…yet. You asked about what is right and wrong though, and disobeying the law is wrong, plain and simple.
If there are laws against something, generally it is because someone will get hurt if you do it. Who gets hurt by free downloading ?
2. Artists get ripped off.
When you don’t pay, guess who doesn’t get paid? Those bands, vocalists, and songwriters that you say you love so much, get nada for their work. How would you feel if you didn’t get paid for the work you do at your job? I bet that you wouldn’t like it much.
You state that you don’t think it’s fair for you to have to pay for your music because you don’t have a lot of money. Does not having much money make it alright to go into the variety store and lift a pocketful of candy bars? (I hope that your mother raised you right and you said no!)
Downloading music without paying is stealing. That is all there is to it.
3. It does make a difference.
Let’s say that you have about two thousand songs on your iPod. At ninety-nine cents a tune that comes to $1,980. (Now you are sure you can’t afford it, right?) Think of it this way though. You have taken away almost $2,000 dollars out of the music industry. If every single student in your chemistry class did that (and maybe they do), that would be around $69,300.
There is a lot of controversy about how much money the music industry is losing to file sharing, because if those who download for free had to pay, obviously they would download less, so exact dollar figures are hard to come by. There is no doubt though that they would still be paying for a lot more music than they are now, right? If you and your friends had to pay for your music, you might have less on your iPods, but more money would go into the music business.
4. Why should you care?
Reason # 1 Jobs! There are a many people who depend on the recording industry for their income, and less money going in means fewer jobs for those people.
Reason # 2 Less money means fewer new acts are discovered. Your next favorite band might never get a break if there are fewer talent scouts and auditions.
Reason #3 Making music is hard work, and people should be paid for their work, especially when they are people whose music you love and adore.
Mother Hen realizes that it is tough being a teenager with limited means, but she is not going to tell you it is okay to steal. If you continue to download free music, then she thinks that you probably ought to feel at least a little guilty. If you don’t pay the price, that’s the price you have to pay.