Copyright Issues of Music
Copyright laws are generally enacted to protect intellectual property. This legal provision gives players in the music industry exclusive rights to own products of their own creativity. It also gives the musicians and the producers the right to be credited for their work and the ability to determine who may perform, benefit financially from the producer’s music, or adapt their work to other forms. The copyright properties are enacted in order for the owners to profit from their work (Moser 72). The government of the United States of America initially envisioned this idea in order to restrict printing. However, the contemporary purpose of copyright creation is to promote innovation and the creation of new music. This is achieved by giving the authors the special rights to benefit from their works. The copyright office is the legal office that is charged with the responsibility of promoting creativity in the community and the country at large. Despite the laws that the government has implemented and enacted in order to protect the ownership of music rights, the existence of illegal websites have enabled easier download of music. This greatly reduces the profitability level of the main beneficiaries and they are left with financial losses most of the time. The legal websites that have promoted legal download of music include iTunes, Amazon, Waptrick, and Wapday among others. The revenue of the music producers has fallen down drastically with the entry of illegal websites into the market. An example of an illegal website company is Limewire, which has facilitated the download of music illegally.
This paper highlights the copyright issues that affect the music industry in the US with a particular emphasis on the practice of downloading music on illegal websites and other pirated media.
The US government has undertaken several strides to make sure that copyright laws are not violated and that intellectual property is safeguarded from technology. Authorities understand that piracy denies owners the right to fully benefit from their work despite huge financial resources. Illegal download of music is defined as the process of transferring music from the internet or through a website to the users’ local computer without the legal authorization from the owners. This definition incorporates both illegal downloads and the download of copyright materials without payment or the legal authority of the owners. This problem has escalated due to the advancement of the technological innovations that have made the accessibility to the musical sources easier and freer. This implies that the posting of legally downloaded music to the internet without legal authority constitutes violation of the musical rights. Some of the illegal websites that have enabled illegal download of music are P2P sites and Limewire companies.
The level of revenues and profits between the illegal websites and the legal websites is different because of the tax effect and the licensing fees that the legal companies pay. These therefore mean that the revenue of the illegal companies is greater than the revenue accrued by the legally registered companies. There are popular legal digital music stores that have greatly contributed to the transfer of music through the internet. iTunes and Amazon websites have been fashioned as a response to increasing technological requirements and needs of clients that want easier and quick access to the music. Their business models therefore respond to the revolution of download music through making officially permitted services that are eye-catching for users. In spite of the large strides that have been witnessed in the music industry, there are challenges that have remained an obstacle to the gradual progress and development of the creativity of the musicians and the artists. Even the legally accepted procedure of downloading music has presented a unique challenge of its kind. For instance, the Universal Music Group (UMG) made a decision not to renew their long-standing contracts with iTunes. The legal dispute was principally based upon the criteria of pricing of songs in which the iTunes company decided to charge the artists more or less depending on their status. This created tension between the artists and the directors of the iTunes company because it was a shift from the past standards.
The comparison between the current time and the time before the existence of the mp3 players shows very diverse statistics in terms of revenue, data, number of sales, and the profitability levels. In the current times, the profitability levels of the artists have decreased sharply due to the illegal access of their music. The users have preferred downloading music to buying the CDs and this has contributed to the decline in the profitability levels. Because of the advancement in the technological field, the public can download the music of the artists even before it has been officially released into the market. This has led to the introduction of music piracy into the music industry. People would easily access the music websites of the artists and download the music at a lower price or even at no price. This trend was not practiced during the past era and the artists were entitled to the full benefits. However, this trend is changing for the better due to the entry of new companies that offer the artists better payments than the prices that are offered by the iTunes company. Companies such as Apple inc. are presenting better forms of payment to the artists and the musicians and this has greatly boosted the revenue bases.
The number of sales in the current time is evidently higher in relation to the time before the innovation of the mp3 players. This implies that people from all over the world can download their music of choice at a specified price. This is because of the increase in the speed at which the transactions between the artists’ label companies and their clients occur (Aksomitis 27). The number of sales between the two periods is also admittedly higher because of the aggressive means of advertisement that are being deployed by the artists and the musicians. They have held annual shows and concerts all over the world and this has boosted the number of sales to a new level. In this process of touring the world, new clients and music fans get attracted to their performances and stage orientations. This means that their overall revenue is likely to increase at the end.
The revenue levels between the two periods are also different largely because of the innovation of new ways of technology. This therefore means that the value of the revenues before the invention of the mp3 players was lower in relation to the current time. The entry of new commercial companies with the aim of supporting the artists has greatly increased the number of revenues that the artists earn. This is because of the improved recording deals that they offer to the artists. Technology has also played a role in the incremental trend of revenue levels that is being witnessed in the current time. The artists can trade off their music through the internet. This therefore reduces the gap of completing the transactions and it increases the total number of music business deals within the same time span. The overall net revenue increases unlike in the previous era, which was characterized by the use of outdated technology. The previous era was characterized by the sale of the music in forms of expensive CDs and cassettes unlike in the current times whereby it is done through the electronic means. The cost of production as a result has been cut down and the artists have fully maximized on the level of profitability.
The government in a bid to outlaw the download of music trough illegal websites enacted laws that would protect the rights of the artists. This measure was taken in light of the increasing levels of musical piracy in the music industry (Donaldson 13). These laws were meant to benefit the artists financially and that their works were protected from possible violation. The government was also determined to revive the music industry, which was on the verge of collapse. The government therefore implemented the new rules in order to protect the creativity and the originality of the works of the authors and the artists. The United States of America copyright laws protect various works such as musical, dramatic, literally works, artistic and intellectual works. The government has made this protection accessible for published and unpublished works. The government through the copyright office has banned the following forms of piracy that were in practice. This constitutes the six basic rights that the copyright document provides to the owners of the music. These include among others the banning of reproduction of work in any form without the authorization of the owner. This implies that the public is not allowed to reproduce the works of the artists without prior authority from all the parties that are concerned in the compilation and production of the music.
The government has also enacted laws that outlaw the production of works that are based upon the original works of other people without a due process. This is meant to protect the creativity of the artists and to promote originality in the American people. The government has also prohibited the distribution of copies or phono-records of the original works of the artists to the public. This regulates the transfer of ownership rights through forms such as renting, leasing, or lending without legal authority from the owners. This has been predestined to protect the original works of the artists, so that they would fully benefit from their works. The copyright office forbids the public performance of dramatic, literally works, musical, motion pictures, pantomimes, choreographic works, and other forms of audiovisual works. This is because it has become evident that some people were performing the works of other artists without their knowledge and at no price. This resulted in financial losses that almost led to the collapse of the music industry.
The other basic right of the artists that the government has protected through the copyright office is the banning of digital transmission of sound recordings through digital audio transmission and through other electronic forms without authorization of the owners. The enactment of this role has incorporated the unauthorized download of music enabled by the existence of illegal websites. This is meant to cut down the financial losses that the artists have been incurring. Lastly, the government has proscribed the public display of artistic works that comprise of dramatic, pantomimes, choreographic works, and musical, pictorial, graphic, motion pictures, audiovisual works, and sculptural works. This directive means that the public is only allowed to display their original works and not the works of other people. Heavier fines have been put in place for the offenders and prison sentences have been incorporated into the forms of punishment to make the law harsher and more stringent.
The copyright act 407 requires that the owners of copyright of an unpublished or published works may register their work with the Copyright Society during the time of the copyright. The rationale of the registration requirements is to create an all-inclusive record of the United States of America copyright claims. To register, the applicant is required to complete a duly filled application form and send it to the Copyright Office in conjunction with the filing fees, registration fees, and phono-records or copies of their work. The Copyright Office evaluates the work applications for apparent errors or lack of copyrightable theme material. It then issues the applicants with the certificate of registration after verifying all the requirements. The registration process is a precondition to the claim of moral rights infringement: this means that it is not necessary for any author or artist to register earlier than suing for infringement of the rights of ascription or integrity in works of visual art in relation to Copyright Act 106 A.
All the protection services that the government provides to the artists through the copyright office are done at a price. This therefore means that the applicants have to deposit their works, which require protection in the copyright offices situated all over the country. The collection of these works mainly serves two purposes. This includes building of the collection of works in the copyright office and acting as a custodian of the documents. This is meant to provide proof in case of actions of infringement of the works arising in the future.
The major factors that have transformed the musical industry include the government through the Copyright Office, recording companies, advancement of new technology, and increases in piracy. The involvement of the government in the musical industry through the copyright office has led to the occurrence of some noticeable changes. For instance, the artists have been able to protect their works from the acts of piracy and download of music through the illegal websites. The net effect of these changes is that the artists fully benefit from their works. Their high level of creativity is enhanced because they feel appreciated by the government. The laws and the regulations enacted by the government are meant to outlaw the illegal practices that are being carried out in the musical industry. The success of this directive has seen the revival of the musical industry to its former glory.
The introduction of the art of technology into the musical industry has had the most significant impact than all other factors. Advancement in technology has both negative and positive effects on the musical industry. To start with, the negative effects of technology include the ability of users to download the music to the personal computers or mobile phones without any form of payment. The act of downloading has greatly decimated the revenue levels that the artists collect from their works. The revenues collected by the artists in the 1990’s were the highest in the history of the music industry. This was attributed to the absence of the forms of downloading, and the fans directly bought their music from authorized dealers. However, in spite of this negative trend, the current time in the music industry remains better and more affordable to the modern users than it was in the previous times. Technology has made it easier for the transmission of the works of the musicians and the artists across all the continents. This therefore means that they are exposed to a multitude of crowds and fans. The revenue collection from more fans has improved greatly and this has boosted the careers of most artists. Technology also acts as a stepping stone towards stardom and success for most musicians (King 15).
Commercial companies have facilitated the revival of music industry through the profitable recording deals that they offer the artists in exchange for their services. The recording companies and other commercial companies pay the artists handsomely and this has attributed to the expansion of the musical industry. The music revenues hit dizzy heights during the 90’s because of the promotional activities that were carried out by the commercial companies. The artists were able to tour the world because of the sponsorship programs that the companies proposed to them. In the process of travelling around the world, they were able to meet and attract more fans to their music (Tremblay 84). The proceeds made from such tours boosted their overall revenues and made them better artists because they invested in the music industry. The commercial companies and the recording companies have also provided useful items to the musicians and the artists. Their clothing requirements are fully satisfied and this makes them shine out from the rest, thus promoting their music and musical revenues in general. The hate-filled wars among the artists within the musical industry have negatively affected the collective progress of music (Allen 51). Much time is spent in the courts of law in a bid to resolve the inevitable arguments instead of investing that time in the production of new music.
The act of piracy has greatly contributed to the decimation of the revenue levels that are being recorded in the music industry at the current time and it has hindered the progress in the music industry. This is because it is not easy to bring the offenders to justice and they have remained at large. The act of piracy is therefore literally bleeding the music industry to death. This act was not in practice at the previous time, and it has escalated due to the advancement of technology. This means that people are able to transform the musical works of the artists to other forms for their own financial gain without legal authority from the owners. Overall, the artists are subjected to greater losses and at times it increases the cost of production of the music. The ease with which the music is uploaded to websites such as YouTube, the advancement of the internet, and the ability to share mp3 files through the technology of Bluetooth have increased the piracy levels in the musical industry. This has destroyed the business structure of the recording and label companies, and unless more is done to curtail the act of piracy, the musical industry is likely to continue making losses and minimal progress.
Copyrights of Movies
The topic of this research is the changes that have occurred in movies over a period of time and how these changes have affected copyrights of movies and music. This topic is important since it shows us how modern technology has affected the revenues of movies and music industry. It also points out the consequences that people charged with the Internet piracy face. This topic is important to everybody in the society since it tries to show us the benefits that we can achieve if we adopt the positive trends of changes in the movie industry. If somebody wants to explore further on this topic, the Internet has many articles relating to Internet piracy issue.
With the introduction of digital revolution, copyright disputes have spawned throughout the world. The question in most people’s minds is whether the Internet sites should allow consumers to download music free of charge. Allows music fans to download music without the need of purchasing the whole album. Recording industries have taken this strategy to court claiming that they go against copyright laws and threaten to erode the economic base of popular music. A Federal Court found guilty of infringement of copyright rights by allowing people to share music. It ordered this site to pay Universal Music Group $25,000 for every label disc that this site had on its server (Jost, 2000). A federal judge in San Francisco found guilty of contributory copyright infringement and ordered it to shut down its operations but the federal appeal court blocked this shut down. Legal suits occur when the movie industry is seeking to shut down “Virtual VCR” which allows people to download TV programs. Motion Pictures has asserted that anyone who sells, acquires, or distributes copyrighted movies should face legal consequences (Jost, 2000).
Huge Loses to Movie Because of Piracy
People download movies from the Internet since they feel courts will not hold them responsible for their actions. In contrast to this, film director Jean-Luc Gordad has defended Mr. Climent convicted by French court of downloading thousands of songs from the Internet illegally (Pfanner, 2010). Moreover, he offered him 1000 Euros in an effort of making him meet his legal costs. Climent argues that every citizen has a right of downloading music and thus he has a chance to receive fair trial in other courts across Europe. President Nicholas Sarkozy has installed measures to crack down the Internet piracy. Online pirates downloaded more than 20 million copies of Star Trek movie and Transformers causing Paramount Pictures huge losses. The report by Torrent Freak show that people downloaded 11 million copies of Star Trek and 10.6 million copies of Transformers. This made Viacom studios to reduce its revenues by $ 535 million (Gautham, 2011). Other films that faced losses due to illegal downloads include The Hangover and Twilight.
Russell Sprague pleaded guilty by the District Court of Los Angeles because of posting copies of movies supplied by Academy Awards. He could be sentenced to three years in prison and repay losses to the studio that they incurred because of his postings (Lauria, 2009). According to the Industry Association of America, making copies of copyrighted music is a crime and the court can press charges against a person legally liable for damages (Recording Industry Association of America, 2009). Court rulings have made it clear that it is illegal to upload or download copyrighted music. If you send music to a friend via instant messages, you will be committing a crime of piracy.
There are courts in America that handle illegal downloading of copyrighted sound recordings, images, software, and texts. Newspaper journalists and federal judges conduct this research on a daily basis. It is not a crime to download music from authorized sites. The issues found from the above researchers prove that the Internet piracy has caused huge losses to movie and music industries. These sources are argumentative since they show the various ways that online pirates infringe the copyright laws. The sources are credible and authoritative since they base their arguments on the Federal law and Constitutional rights on piracy. There is no difference in opinion about the sources as they explain how the Internet has affected the movie and music industry because of piracy.
We have seen that the copyright issues are developed to facilitate the creativity, originality, and progress in the musical industry. The government of the United States of America through the Copyright Office has enacted laws that would protect the ownership of the artists. This edict has been taken in light of the ever-increasing levels of piracy in the music industry. The act of piracy has remained a major factor that is causing the collapse of music, and despite the huge strides the government has made in a bid to curb this negative habit, piracy is still on the rise. The levels of revenue between the current period and the previous epoch in the music industry are dissimilar because of human factors. The profitability levels and the number of revenues in the previous period were higher than in the current time because of the existence of piracy in the current time. This implies that music is transformed to other forms with ease and it can be downloaded through illegal websites without any form of payment. This therefore directly reduces the expected revenues, leading to the collapse of the music industry. The other factors that have led to the demise of the musical industry include the rise of the internet and creation of websites such as YouTube, Limewire, and P2P. All these websites have promoted the collapse of music production and the general evolution and advancement.
Works for one artist may not help another one. The copyright law, the way I see it, is essentially a reasonably novel effort to deal with an “easier said than done” subject. The law has pros and cons. Therefore, the lawmakers should try to highlight the positive aspects and eliminate the negative ones.
The research process on the effects of illegal downloads on music has been carried out by several researchers. From this research, I learnt that it is a crime to download music and movies from free sites since it is an infringement of copyright laws. In addition to this, I learnt that movies such Twilight and Hangover made huge losses due to illegal downloads. I was surprised that I commit a crime punishable by law every time I download music from free websites. This topic is complicated than I thought it would be. This is because some researchers have different views on whether people should support free downloads and thus I had to find the most suitable views. Information on decided cases concerning piracy and copyright infringement helped my research a lot. While conducting my research, I missed information on special instances that the law allows a person to post copyrighted material on the internet. I need to investigate further on the statute of federal law on the amendments that have occurred on the Copyrights Act. From the research, I have discovered that the government should set more strict rules to discourage internet piracy. This is because piracy increases since the government is slow on punishing people conducting illegal downloads. Illegal downloading is killing the music and movie industry. The benefits of illegal downloading do not outweigh its dangers.