File Sharing Morality

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By sebelandia
Words 2466
Pages 10
Is the free sharing of copyrighted material on the internet a morally acceptable action? Can we apply different moral philosophies to such a modern problem? In recent history, with the advent of peer-to-peer sharing programs and the free availability of many different types of media on the internet, the morality of the sharing of copyrighted material has come into question. In order to gain understanding on issue, we can apply several universal moral theories, including the Kantian, Utilitarian, and Rights Ethics philosophies.
There are many users of the internet today, and a majority of them participate in file-sharing via the use of a wide variety of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. These people believe that what they are doing is not wrong, but rather one of their rights as consumers of media. In contrast to this, many people of the movie and music industries believe that their creative works are protected property and that file sharing takes away from the benefits that they receive from those works. By having the consumer purchase the media, it gives the creator both money to create more work and the added affirmation to generate more creations. This situation has arisen due to several factors; these factors include technological advances that provide the ability for free sharing of media, the opinions of several creators driving the arguments against sharing, and the wide popularity of the internet.
Napster was one of the first widely used free-sharing networks. In June 1999, Shawn Fanning released his creation that provided free music for download to any anonymous user that chose to obtain the Napster program. Napster soon exploded in popularity, with millions of users downloading the service and obtaining hundreds to thousands of songs each day. Eventually, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) filed a lawsuit against the service and the Ninth…...

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