The record company faces diminish of sales and a loss of jobs. There is 30% drop in global music sales from 2004 to 2009. This is bound to happen as there are lesser people buying the physical music albums. The price of the albums are usually set by the company as they think that the price will be able to maximise sales. Due to piracy, the company cannot generate enough revenues to cover the loss, thus will not be able to keep their company in operation.
The artists, songwriters and composers are not able to get what they deserve to earn despite the amount of effort put in. It will also affect their reputations as their music are being sold and transferred in inferior quality. They will then have no incentive to produce new music.
Retailers are not able to compete with the illegal vendors and the free illegal downloads. They are not able to generate enough revenues, resulting in loss of jobs.
Music pirates may enjoy a moment of happiness from downloading but they will suffer when the music market breaks down and are not longer able to provide them with new music. By downloading music, we are in fact making our computer more vulnerable to virus and spyware as we have no idea what the files that we are downloading contains.
Consumers will also lose out as free illegal downloads may drive up the prices of the songs and albums.
Therefore, from the utilitarianism point of view, piracy affects all the parties in a negative way, resulting in total unhappiness.
The motive of an individual pirating software is to cut cost on buying music and for their own convenience’s sake. If everyone in the world has this same motive, piracy will invade into every part of the world. In order to prevent this from happening, record companies have to come up with anti-piracy measures. Doing this would be time consuming and cause the production of music to be more expensive. This makes the motive illogical and thus would be impermissible.
When we download music illegally, we are not giving the record companies anything in return. As we are not getting any permission from the company, we are merely using the company as a means to get the music. Again, this makes it impermissible.
Studies show that an individual tends to pirate mainly because of social influences. We are easily affected by our surroundings and tend to follow the trend. Experts suggest that besides explaining about the cons of piracy, anti-piracy campaigns should also cover illegal copying of software from our families and friends. Piracy policies and laws should also place emphasis on the consequences of piracy, what negative effects it will bring to the affected parties.
Record companies should also try to reduce the prices of their music as studies show that doing so will reduce the probability of a pirate from obtaining the music from other alternative sources.
Whistle-blowing is another way for us to spot piracy. If we happen to spot someone downloading illegal music in our workplace or school, we may be reluctant to report it. However, if everyone can look for piracy, it will reduce the frequency of piracy from occurring.
In conclusion, piracy is a problem that is hard to eliminate and will most likely remain with us in the future. Instead of getting affected by it, artists should make use of the Internet as a platform to reach a wider public. e.g. Apple and Amazon allow their writers to produce their own books and sell them online by using the iBooks program. Youtube provides a platform for creative artists to present themselves globally.
In order to guard against piracy, all of us have a part to play. We need to respect and comply with the law when it comes to downloading, re-distribution of music.