Music Piracy: Causes and Effects

Posted on 06th Jun 2012 | 2354 views

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"Protecting the rights of artists is not just about the big famous acts, it's about the thousands of bands you have never heard of who are trying to make a living out of their recordings"- Paul Weller


1. What is Piracy?

2. What are the causes of music piracy?

3. Some facts about music industry

4. What are the effects of music piracy?

What is piracy?

An Overview of Piracy

Piracy is unauthorized task of creating duplication of an original recording without the approval of the rights owner.

The packaging of pirate copies is different from the original. Pirate copies are compilation, of the "greatest hits" of a specific artist, or a collection of a specific genre, such as dance tracks. File sharing is one of the oldest forms of Internet piracy and these are created to share each other's libraries of music, video clips, and other small files. But the shared files could easily affect the computers due to the virus effects. And file sharing also results in copyright infringement. Illegal downloading of music may result in artist not being paid for his work. Many people download music and software from websites without the permission of copyright holders. Many songs and games on the Internet are free and legal to download, and you can make sure that you download only from those sites where the copyright owners have given their permission for their work to be copied freely. It is illegal to steal someone's intellectual property as it is to steal a CD or toy from a store. The problem of piracy was more widespread with advanced technology, new techniques of printing, recording and fixation of broadcast or recorded programmes. Piracy is an illegal and criminal activity and the person who is doing piracy is strictly punishable.

What are the causes of music piracy?

causes of music piracy

Low level of public awareness:

Most of the public doesn't know that piracy is a crime. The public often does not realize that purchasing pirated products may cause the spread of unlawful practices.

High consumer demand for cultural products:

The increasing demand for music, films, books and software is very high in the society, which may encourage the people to develop an illegal market to provide the needs of consumers.

Myths about piracy:

The society often views piracy as an access to cheaper, just-as-good versions of works, ignoring the effects that piracy has on creativity, creative industries and related sectors.

Inefficient intellectual property protection and weak enforcement of rights:

Poorly drafted or incomplete laws, and weak enforcement thereof, directly contribute to the increase of piracy.

High cost of cultural goods:

Due to high cost of the entertainment products, people encourage pirated products.

Difficulty in access to legitimate works:

Supply of lawful products in stores and libraries is often insufficient, particularly in developing countries.

Considerable business profits for pirates:

Pirates do not incur any of the costs related to the production of original cultural goods due to limited up-front investment needed for illegal reproduction and distribution. Hence, the perspective of making huge and easy profits is another reason for the spread and persistence of piracy.

Some facts about music industry:

  • 13 million tracks were licensed by record companies to digital music services
  • 400+ licensed digital music services worldwide
  • 4.6 US$ billion trade value of the digital music market worldwide
  • 6% growth of global digital music revenues in 2010
  • 29% of the percentage of record companies global revenues from digital channels
  • 1000% + increase in the value of the digital music market 2004-10
  • 16.5% percentage of internet users purchasing digital music in the US
  • 5$US billion estimated amount record companies invested in artists in 2009
  • 30% of revenues record companies invest in music marketing
  • 77% of estimated fall in debut album unit sales in the global top 50 2003 -2010
  • 12% fall in the revenues of the global top 50 tours in 2010
  • 17% fall in the number of people employed as musicians in the US 1999-2009
  • 1.2 million jobs projected to be lost in the European countries creative industries due to piracy by 2015
  • 240 billion estimated cumulative lost retail revenues to the European creative industries from piracy 2008-2015
  • 0 number of local debut artists in the annual Spanish top 50 in 2010
  • -45% fall in the domestic releases in Mexico 2005-2010

What are the effects of music piracy?

effects of music piracy

Music piracy is expanding in India and showing its footprints in a huge way. Music piracy is creating nearly Rs.600 crores annual loss to the music industry. Recently there are new forms of music piracy created like mobile chip piracy, which is causing 300 crores loss to the Indian music industry. To reduce the losses due to pirated music, Indian music industry introduced Music Mobile Exchange (MMX) license.

Music piracy refers to three types of piracy activities:

Counterfeiting: This is one kind of unauthorized copying of the sound as well as artwork, trademark, label and packaging of the original recording. The main goal of the process is to mislead the consumer into thinking that they are buying the genuine product.

Pirate Recordings: These are unauthorized duplications of music from valid recordings for commercial gain. Pirated CDs or music cassettes may be compilations such as 'Top Ten', 'Bollywood Hits' or a combination of hit titles of different music companies.

Breach of copyright: This is recording, duplication and sale of a performance or broadcast without the permission of the artist or the Record Company or the original copy right holder, which may be entitled to control the recording rights of the artist's performances.

The other effects of music piracy are as follows:

  • Original music is not that much expensive as people assume
  • Music piracy causes huge amounts of economic damage
  • It's very easy to use a pirated service
  • Pirated music is of lower quality
  • Pirated music libraries are messy
  • Artists doesn't get support by pirating their music
  • Piracy is breaking the law

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