CMU students weigh in on online piracy
Even with legislation being presented to Congress that would halt online piracy of music and film, both the music industry and students at Central Michigan University are beginning to see its potential benefit.
“I feel that downloading music and movies without paying for it can be a problem, circumstantially,” sophomore Mary Menter said. “However, I think that the music industry does fine because the tours that music stars do bring in millions of dollars alone.”
Since tours seem to account for a substantial amount of the income for record companies, the Dearborn native said, the film industry might see a lot more damage due to online piracy than does the music industry.
Physical music sales dropped 12.8 percent in 2012, the Huffington Post reported.
Other music businesses have come out with similar reports and falling numbers, and the piracy debate has continued to rage on. Legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) have been introduced to Congress in an attempt to deter the amount of illegal online sharing that is going on in the United States.
“It’s boring talking about piracy, but it is the problem and we can’t avoid it,” John Kennedy, chief executive of International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, told the New York Times in 2010.
What businesses in the music industry are beginning to find, however, is that reports of online sharing can actually help companies that wish to target audiences and choose profitable artists and locations for tours.
Students at CMU are echoing the idea that online piracy, while hurtful to the music and film industries, can be made useful rather than stopped.
Sophomore Ben Brennick agreed that online piracy is a major problem, but focused on the fact that media industries have the opportunity to capitalize on the results of online sharing.
“The music, movie and game industries can use online file sharing to help promote their products by allowing downloads of trials of their products,” the Stanwood native said.
Brennick did advocate for stricter control of what material reaches the internet, and how, emphasizing that these trials ought to have limited uses.
Other students are more optimistic about online file sharing, emphasizing the great convenience it tends to offer. Tyler Kus said the ability to share music and film online is a great thing in our society today.
“I believe that the music industry … wants us to believe that downloading illegally does in fact hurt the economy,” the Farmington Hills sophomore said. “Honestly, I don’t think it does. If an artist’s music is good enough and they have a good enough fan base, they’re still going to make money.”
Echoing Menter’s point about tours and the outcome of fans, Kus thinks the music and film industries will be fine as long as that source of revenue stays intact.
“True fans will always go see the movie or go to the concert if they really love the music or film,” he said.
What every student seemed to agree on was the fact that online piracy is not something that will go away any time soon. Even for those like freshman Sarah Rich, who say they do not have strong opinions about online sharing, it is still obvious that it is a major part of our society.
“I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other,” the Rochester Hills sophomore said. “I know a lot of people do it and it doesn’t change the way that I look at them.”
Other students seemed to agree, expressing doubts about the new bills proposed to Congress.
“I don’t believe the legislation will realistically make it through Congress,” Menter said. “Overall, I don’t think it is something that is going to be stopped that easily.”
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