10 thoughts on “The Illegal Downloading Debate: Is it OK to Download Songs without Paying?

  1. Who downloads or buys anymore? I just listen to the radio. Biggest and largest problem is that RIAA assumes those who listen to radios or download are lost profit. Usually if someone can’t obtain that content on their own terms they won’t obtain it even in physical or purchasable format. Piracy isn’t piracy, it’s real life DRM. However I still buy games with DRM on sale. So logically if you want to convert consumers you need to give them their content for much less than corporate companies want to retail for. Hell! I got some great games on steam for 2.50$ RIAA can suck it’s 40$ music discs because I’m just playing video games and using Pandora.

  2. You made several strong points. I prefer to buy my music any way I can. Be it a CD, Vinyl, CS, or digital. However, I am not rich. There is a CD I want to buy very badly. The dumb sellers want over $7,000 for a simple nine-track CD. I would rather download it for free (which I already have). If it were maybe $20 I gladly buy the album no problem. Sadly, the album is not available on iTunes. I think it should be so I can give the artist their money for their hard work into making the album. Here’s my 2 cents; Make it easily available so I can purchase the album hassle free. Also, keep the price down to 10 dollars.

    • I agree. For me, if a CD I want is priced at $10, I will just snap it up. Once it gets above $15, I start to think twice. Once it is over $20, the ‘Yeah, I don’t think I really need this’ voice usually takes over.

  3. The future will be based on websites hosting links to copyrighted content for downloads having injunctions brought against them by the courts. This is already happening and it is going to continue. piracy is wrong whatever way you look at it, the law is the law and however people justify it they are steal breaking the law.

  4. Just a point regarding this distinction between hobbyists and artists. Clearly many of the people whose music is downloaded are essentially hobbyists. And twenty years ago they would have remained hobbyists all their life. Now they have the opportunity thanks to free downloading to reach millions of people without having to go through the soul-destroying and for the great majority ultimately unsuccessful process of legitimising their work through the usual commercial intermediaries. You give somewhere an example of someone who is reaching millions but not being paid for it. But if he or she is an artist this does not matter because, armed with the proof that millions have downloaded their work, they will have no problem whatsoever in securing a lucrative contract – thanks to the free downloading system. If this is the only piece of music they are capable of producing, then they are indeed a hobbyist and should be grateful that they have at least had that hearing. Either way it is very difficult to see how the free downloading can do any harm whatsoever to young, aspiring artists or those making the transition from hobbying to artist. The only ones who are harmed are those who in fact do virtually all the complaining – the far from impoverished record companies and the far from impoverished established artists, both of whom have plenty of alternative means of making a more than handsome living..

    • The problem with this argument–that artists will be eventually rewarded with lucrative recording contracts– is that typical recording contracts depend on song sales for the artists to earn money. Typically, the artist is given a cash advance, but will not earn money from royalties until that advance is paid off and the recording company has recouped the production and often marketing costs (see the example of OK Go). Your argument assumes that as soon as the artist signs a recording contract, the people who previously downloaded his/her music for free will immediately switch to paying for the music (when they can also still get pirated versions for free). Your argument against paying for music (the “lucrative record contract”), is ultimately based on people paying for music and NOT downloading illegally.

  5. This was so helpful in my debate! Especially because you included rebuttals so I could see how a person might reply to the argument! Thanks!

  6. I used to buy music CDs in the 90s and 2000s. Later, in 2004, a relative showed me that songs can be downloaded for free. Since then, I have been downloading only and also spreading the word. I will continue doing this forever; I do not care if it is illegal.

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