Posts tagged Uploading and downloading

How to Protect Intellectual Property

With the innovation of the Internet, the ability to enforce any law regarding the disruption of intellectual property is almost impossible.  Throughout the past decade, beginning the mp3 revolution, the record companies have reported that the digital revolution has cost them nearly $12.5 billion dollars and 71,000 jobs each year.1  With the use of torrent sites and limewire file sharing, digital piracy is getting harder to pinpoint. Recent surveys indicate that nearly ninety-five percent of all music downloaded online is illegal.2  In recent news, a single-mother was ordered by the court to pay $1.92 million dollars for downloading twenty-four songs.3  However, if the surveys are correct, this court decision suggests that there are millions of individuals who owe the record companies millions of dollars themselves.  Clearly, it is nearly impossible to try all of the illegal music downloaders on the Internet. Therefore, the legislature might pass an additional act to help detour people from downloading.

My suggestion is that Congress should pass a new act that would set up an agency for whistle-blowers of illegal file sharing from within the Federal Communications Commission/ FCC. This newly created agency would offer incentives to whistle-blowers, such as offer potential whistle blowers a portion (e.g., 10%) of the money reclaimed by the record companies.  With much stronger incentives, people would be more willing to report their neighbors, co-workers, friends, and even family members, to the proper authorities for illegal downloading activities.  If the government would create a whistle-blowing network, people would become increasingly paranoid about downloading music.

In retrospect, the Federal Government and the recording industry has spent the past decade working with members of the Congress and a small army of lawyers in order to create ways to come up with solutions to the problem of illegal file sharing.  The problem is so widespread that it is illogical to think that it could be solved overnight. Hence, record companies and the Federal Government need to collaborate and create more ways to detour music piracy, such as establishing a whistle-blowing agency.  As the public becomes increasingly paranoid, people will become more likely to download files legally.

Additional Resources (outside class textbook):

1. http://www.dailyiowan.com/2009/06/23/Metro/11797.html

2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7832396.stm

3. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10268199-93.html

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