The Online Music Debate

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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THE ONLINE MUSIC DEBATE This paper will explain what an MP3 is, a brief history of online music, and laws regarding the sharing of files over the Internet. Next, it will deal with online file-sharing communities, recording artists, and the public's opinions on how music files should be shared as well as my own personal opinion. Lastly, it will give an idea of the future of online music.

MP3 stands for MPEG Layer 3 Audio. It produces near-CD quality sound. An MP3 is basically a compressed (shrunk down) WAV sound file. The difference between WAV and MP3 is the file size. For example, a song two and a half minutes long is 30 megabytes in WAV format while an MP3 of the same song is only 3 megabytes (MPEG).

Before the MP3 was invented, sharing music over the Internet was nearly impossible because the only format available was WAV. WAV files were far too large to share because it took too long to download.

When the MP3 came about, online music file sharing exploded because now people could download songs in a reasonable amount of time. New programs, web sites, and servers provided people with easy access to a growing community of online music.

It wasn't long before people began to share copyrighted songs in the form of MP3s, and the music industry retaliated claiming that people were stealing their music. However, they could not do much to stop it because the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) says an Internet service provider...has no duty to monitor or seek facts showing infringing activities (Pulgram)."� This means that webmasters do not have to watch what is being shared on their server. The only way a music artist can stop distribution of their music is by pointing out specific users who...

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