How File Sharing Actually Benefits the Entertainment Industry

When thinking about topics like piracy and file sharing the first thing that comes to mind is that they are illegal. While it is true that obtaining music illegally and sharing music illegally is not ok, it is also true that it has positively affected the entertainment industry in terms of sales. First, lets define what these terms are.


Piracy is the act of illegally downloading some form of digital entertainment without paying for it. It could be music, movies, or even books. According to RIAA examples of piracy include making a MP3 copy of a song you bought, but then putting that copy on the internet for anyone to download it, joining a file-sharing network and downloading unauthorized copies of copyrighted music for free, and (one of the most common) making a copy of an album you bought and giving it to your friend.


File sharing goes hand in hand with piracy. It is the practice of transmitting files from one computer to another over a network (the internet), but it is not always illegal. According to Chapter 4. “Piracy” there are many kinds of file sharing. The first type are “users who download instead of purchasing.” The second type are those who use file sharing just to sample songs before buying them. The third type are those who use it to download copyrighted content that is either no longer sold or too high in cost to purchase. The last type use it to download content that is not copyrighted or has been given permission to download for free.

Now, lets bring back up the initial issue. Is piracy and file-sharing negatively effecting the entertainment industry?

According to Lily Rothman on Time Magazine a recent study by Luis Aguiar and Bertin Martins found that “illegal music downloads essentially had no effect on the number of legal music downloads.” They also found that the majority of the music that was illegally downloaded by those in the study still wouldn’t have purchased that music if illegal downloading sites weren’t available. What this essentially means is that the study found that the songs that were being illegally downloaded still wouldn’t have made any money if illegal downloading sites weren’t around. It kind of makes you think no harm, no foul, right?


According to Piracy isn’t killing the entertainment industry, scholars show by Ernesto on TorrentFreak, sites like SoundCloud and YouTube are actually having a positive effect on the entertainment industry in terms of promotion. People are using these sites to sample songs before they go out and purchase them. They may be getting a couple songs for free, but in the long run they are still making more money off of it than before file-sharing sites were around. Ernesto also explains that researchers have found that file-sharers are actually spending more money on entertainment than those who don’t.

What do you think? Do you feel that file-sharing in moderation could actually be a good thing or do you feel we should write it off altogether?  Keep in mind the question raised by Lily Rothman from Time Magazine: “If you went into a store to steal a candy bar and, in the process, found lots of other stuff you were willing to pay for, would that make it okay to steal the candy?” Does the one candy bar really matter in the grand scheme of things?


54 thoughts on “How File Sharing Actually Benefits the Entertainment Industry

  1. Brandon Coulter March 19, 2015 / 11:48 am

    I’ll immediately say that “one candy bar” absolutely does not matter in the grand scheme of things. It is hardly ever “one candy bar,” however. If one person is downloading a specific song or album, you can guarantee that they are neither the first nor the last to do so, and this all adds up. When it comes to downloading the actual music files, it does not come as a shock to me that the revenue obtained is relatively the same and not diminished enough to merit a crisis. From my own personal experience as well as the experience of those around me, downloading a song or album without purchasing it acts as a way of “testing the waters” before committing completely to a decision. Whenever I download an artist’s work, it is an attempt for them to sway me in their direction, to which I respond with purchasing their physical merchandise, including CD’s, vinyl records, and t-shirts. At the very least, the purchase of concert tickets comes as a result, which entails more merchandise being purchased. Artists who establish followings will allow for a greater number of purchases to happen, as their loyal fans will more often than not pay for every little thing they distribute. The individuals who listen to the product and do not purchase it are truly those who would have never purchase the merchandise in the first place, regardless of whether or not they enjoy the product. Our generation has become closer and intimately connected with the entertainment we enjoy. We understand supporting artists, and a fair amount of us do so in order for them to continue to create the music we love.


    • rmpaulk March 20, 2015 / 11:11 am

      I agree. I feel that the majority of those who illegally download either do it to sample or to hear songs they aren’t going to buy anyways. Those who sample will more than likely buy, but the others we wouldn’t get their money anyways. Thus it all evens out. I think the industry has realized this a long time ago, because we hear less and less about the repercussions for illegally downloading/sites being shut down.


    • cseejay March 22, 2015 / 8:43 am

      I too agree that “one candy bar” does pay a huge factor. But, what about when millions of people walk into several stores looking to steal a candy bar. The amount of money lost definitely increases despite whatever else that individual is purchasing. I to used pirating as an excuse for “try before you buy” way of doing things, but I often found that I more times than not ended up not buying the music because I was a cheapass. When it came down to me pulling my credit card out of my wallet and typing the numbers in, I’d get to the security code space and justify some reason for not buying the music. I see how this works for others, but I also to believe if there was some way to actually look at how many people pirating an album then go and buy the album they liked days later, it’d be much less than studies say. I just don’t believe it, I think more people operate how I used to, and I think it’s unfortunate considering how easy and cheap it is to get music through streaming services. I get that there was a problem with the music industry a decade ago, but now they’ve worked out ways to get music cheaply to consumers so I don’t see the excuse at this point. Through streaming services hardly pay artist, at least you can help contribute something for their creative talent. I also think a lot of the newer artist are smart in making merchandise available through their website, which is money that goes directly to their pocket. I think this offsets some of the money artist miss out on. I feel like I sound more like my parents 10 years ago considering my old point of view on this issue, but I just think it blows how someone can spend so much time on music and people download it for free?! Does that even feel right?! I’ve definitely done my fair share of pirating music, but it never felt right. I always knew and felt it was wrong.


      • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 4:37 pm

        I do understand and agree with what you are saying, but I was never saying in my post that it was ok or right. I don’t feel the articles were saying that either. We’re just saying that in the grand scheme of things pirating music isn’t negatively effecting, or isn’t AS negatively effecting, as we have all come to believe.


  2. efekete March 20, 2015 / 12:26 pm

    Music artists who cry foul about downloads have yet to adapt to 2015. What about streaming music? Sites like Pandora pay artists for likes (or thumbs up.) It might be pennies per click but that adds up after millions of users. Podcasts too, many podcasts are free but if after so many months shows get deleted off your library. However if you upgrade to their premium application you can stream the entire catalogue. Pandora does the same thing with Pandora One (no commercials,unlimited streaming, etc…) The “album” is not always a polished piece, so purchasing the whole thing doesn’t make sense anymore. Now many commercial artists are forced by labels to make song quotas. So this creates an culture of just making songs like an assembly line.


    • rmpaulk March 21, 2015 / 2:10 am

      Really great point! I feel like streaming sites were created to fight illegal downloading. I know I use them all the time and will decide through them if I should buy an album or not. I also think that many artists are turning independent to fight that song quota issue, because more and more are coming out and becoming popular.


  3. nebior March 20, 2015 / 3:32 pm

    File sharing is a good thing if it is helping the industry that it is involved with or at least not hurting it. This goes along with the point that people who got the songs illegally may never have legally bought them in the first place. If someone wasn’t going to buy the song then at least they get to listen to it which gives the artists some exposure they would not have had in the first place. In the big picture, if those pieces of information are true, then piracy has no affect at all on people. I believe that there must be at least some impact otherwise there wouldn’t be so much trouble with people pirating things. It may even just stem from the idea of “Why should I pay when you don’t” which I feel is a real issue behind piracy. There is no way to write off piracy altogether. The investment required to prevent most piracy would be phenomenal. On top of being outrageously expensive to prevent, piracy isn’t impacting artists as much as people believe. To fully prevent a little damage to artists for an amazing cost just wouldn’t make any sense. Overall, I feel piracy is bad and I do not partake in it, but it would be bad if everyone did it.

    –Ben Walker


    • rmpaulk March 21, 2015 / 2:13 am

      Great point! I completely forgot to mention that even though people may not be buying the music, they are still giving the artist exposure. They might then tell friends about them who will buy their music, or even buy merchandise and concert tickets. I also think the bigger issue with piracy may lie in the movie industry. Illegal music downloads may be more common, and easier, but I feel illegally downloading, viewing, and selling movies is a much bigger market in terms of money.


  4. Mike Zang March 21, 2015 / 2:49 am

    Hello Rmpaulk. I can see that being able to preview a song before purchasing it is a good thing! I use the preview function on iTunes, or listen to the song on YouTube generally before purchasing a song anyway. The majority of the time songs are overplayed on the radio so much that by the time I actually get around to buying a catchy song, I’m already sick of it already. On the other hand, there is no doubt that technologically speaking, times are changing. Gone are the days of walking into record stores that were on every street corner to buy a CD with 12 worthless songs, only to listen to one over and over again. I can see the musician’s gripe when it comes to that topic, but who really wants to purchase whole albums anymore?

    I personally don’t think it’s ok to steal candy bars, nor do I think it’s ok to illegally download music. What I like to tell people “If it doesn’t belong to you, keep your hands off of it”, but I think it’s important to have sites like ITunes and Amazon Music because it allows the user to purchase smaller amounts of music without all the extras. I don’t know of anyone that would opt to purchase 5 albums for 60 dollars rather than just purchase 5 of their favorite songs for 6 bucks. Markets and technologies are constantly changing and it’s up to the record labels to figure out how to get their artist’s music sold!


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 4:42 pm

      I agree with you. Programs like iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Music might actually be what is making the industry even out in terms of money. Before these programs were created or made popular, illegally downloading music was running rampant. Everyone in my family was illegally downloading music through LimeWire at one point. Now, though, it is much easier to just pay $1.29 for one song you like, or a couple, rather than $12.99 for an entire album you don’t like.


  5. spgregor March 21, 2015 / 8:28 am

    I don’t believe file sharing is necessarily a bad thing. I draw this opinion strictly from the part that talked about whether these acts of piracy actually have effects on legal song purchases from credible sources. If the majority of the songs being pirated are old, out of date, and no longer available on markets like ITunes, then I don’t see the harm. Additionally, if someone is previewing a song or artist to see if they want to purchase an entire CD, I don’t see the harm. I have purchased too many CDs only to get them home and found I only liked one track on the entire thing and basically wasted my money. With the price of everything constantly increasing I would rather spend my money on something I know I will use. I personally don’t attend concerts so to have to pay more for CDs to incorporate the expense of putting on shows irritates me. As we all are discovering, technology and the internet has brought about many changes and this seems to be another market that needs to find a way to adapt to it. We all want more for less, and although we cant always have that, file sharing seems to be a harmless way for some of us to ensure we like what we are about to purchase.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 4:45 pm

      I agree with you. Times are definitely changing. I’m not saying that illegally downloading music is ok, but I am ok with someone buying a CD and burning a copy for a friend at no charge. I also think that like another commenter mentioned, programs like iTunes and Amazon Music definitely help the “file sharing epidemic” when you can just buy one or two songs instead of the entire album.


  6. adrianhormsby March 21, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    I just love your question about file sharing in moderation. It’s just like marijuana, in moderation might be ok, right? I wish it was that simple. The readings are an excellent overview of this complex, in our face topic. First, there’s the RIAA article which outlines the issues confronting us with online piracy, including severe legal penalties if you get caught, to Rothman’s data about how it could be actually benefiting legal music sales, finally to David Lowery’s insightful rebuttal defending the artists in response to Emily White’s NPR comments. It’s the scholarly equivalent of watching a bunch of prize fighters go at it in the ring. Having lived through the vinyl music era when we borrowed vinyl albums from friends after listening to the songs on the radio (AM radio mind you), the whole download thing didn’t even make it to my radar screen until I heard about Napster over a decade ago. Even then I wasn’t quite sure why teenagers were jumping up and down about it. I just assumed you shouldn’t be getting anything for free unless you paid for a legitimate product. Obviously I had forgotten just how important popular music is to kids growing up. It’s part of your lifestyle, your memory, even your soul and who you are as a person. Who can’t say that there isn’t the one song that just gets you every time you hear it. That’s the magic and beauty of music, it’s mesmerized humanity for millennia. Music played a similar role for my generation too, you had to be part of it to be cool and included in the gang. In fact its like a drug, you just have to get it no matter what, and if you can get it for free, even better. I think I would have succumbed to the Napster temptation as a kid myself, besides everyone’s doing it so it must be o.k. You think I’m joking right, but that attitude was rife in the late 90’s when Napster was up and away. If I recall correctly, the problem back then was capacity of the technology, just not enough memory and speed (this, I believe was the prime motivation for Steve Jobs invention of the IPod, but that’s another discussion). Today’s generation have definitely come a long way from those hedonistic days off unmitigated free music downloading, I recall my oldest daughter coming to me a little teary eyed when everyone was told that the Feds were coming down on Napster, it’s like her best friend was moving to Texas and would never be seen again. A huge part of this issue as Lowery nicely points out is not technological but rather moral and ethical. You have those that despite ready access to affordable music downloads will always try to get it for free, no matter what, and those that simply don’t or should I say won’t, no matter what. I recently read a scholarly essay that discussed this issue in free market democracies and the writer argued that prosperity and equality relies heavily on personal honesty, integrity and respect for other’s property. This is because obedience to that which is unenforceable relies heavily on a strong moral compass by society at large. Importantly, no authority, government, private program or organization can provide sufficient influence or foundation to ensure widespread obedience to the unenforceable. File sharing is a good example of the unenforceable, everyone knows that it is almost impossible to catch everyone so the industry is reliant on every individual’s personal integrity. So back to your question, is there such a thing as moderate file sharing? Probably not.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 4:53 pm

      I definitely think that morality plays a key factor in the issue. If you have morals and believe it is wrong, you either won’t do it at all or will stop. I know I used to download a lot of music illegally, but after having to switch programs like 3 times I got too fed up and too paranoid that I might be the next person caught and charged. The big thing that really made me stop illegally downloading was when iTunes changed their program to be able to tell what was purchased from them and what was possibly illegally downloaded. From then on I have bought everything.


  7. Carly Hernandez March 21, 2015 / 9:40 pm

    I can definitely see how piracy could have a positive effect in a way and had never thought of it in that way before. Personally, I use YouTube and Spotify all the time to find new artists or new songs that I can actually purchase in the long run. Both of these sites also give suggestions to songs either in the sidebar or in playlists that you can listen to. I’ve realized that most people want their music on their phones at the palm of their hands. So for iPhone users it is a benefit since they can just download the music to their phones. Previewing songs on iTunes also has helped me to purchase more songs. I know that iTunes even made the seconds longer to listen to the song before buying it. I also can see how that even the songs people download illegally, it wouldn’t be any different if these file-sharing sites didn’t exist. I don’t necessarily think that illegally downloading something is a good thing though since there should be credit given where credit is due in any situation, especially in the music industry. One “candy bar” doesn’t matter in the scheme of things but that doesn’t mean it is okay. We should want to help out artists and give them credit for their work, since they were hard to produce it and make a living off of it. I think the trend of piracy is slowing down since more and more people are starting to realize its importance and want to attribute their money to the artist. I’ve also noticed that more and more people want to actually buy cd’s and albums and having something tangible to use. Everything that we have is either on our phones or our laptops and having something that we can actually hold and see is a way better feeling.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 4:55 pm

      I agree with you. I mean there are always going to be “bad people” who do things illegally, but I think in today’s world where there are so many sites to listen or preview music for free that more and more people are paying for their music and making the sales equal out in the end. One big thing that I think also helped was when illegally downloading was the “cool” thing, iTunes lowered their prices per song which made me start buying again.


  8. asibo March 22, 2015 / 11:32 am

    I do happen to think that file-sharing and other forms digital music has benefited the entertainment and recording industries, because they have opened up new avenues of money-making and products that fans are more than willing to pay for. As the table in your above post shows, is making significantly more money than it did in 2003, despite a precipitous drop in revenues from recording music. However, it seems that the industry wants to have its cake and eat it too: they not only want to make more money off of concerts, publishing, and the internet, but still make all the money they did off of recording. However, the bottom line is I don’t think people want to pay for digital music anymore and the music industry is hellbent on trying to make that way because of it’s relative ease and cheap production cost. Rather than adapting to the current climate and demands, they seem more concerned with dictating what products people should buy and how they should buy them.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      I agree. There needs to be a happy medium. I mean they have been getting better on iTunes and Amazon Music where after so long the song will go on sale for $0.69. They also have better programs like Amazon Music offers $5 albums, there are free songs of the day, etc.,


  9. jaemillz411 March 22, 2015 / 12:55 pm

    Great Post.

    I think that file sharing is a good thing for all forms of entertainment industry. I admit to file sharing, once or twice, and I still spend a ton of money on music, movies, and books each year. In my opinion, file sharing aka privacy gets the word out about a film or artist. It is not just enough to promote on television or other advertisements.
    The industry needs word of mouth. For instance, I gave a copy of my Childish Gambino CD (a rapper) to my friend a couple of years ago and she is completely obsessed with his music. She buys his CD’s in stores and attends his concerts whenever he is in town. If I had not introduced her to his music, who knows if she would have ever really given his music a chance.
    There is something powerful in getting a recommendation from someone you trust. And if the music is good (worth it) then the people will put their faith and their wallets into it. Sometimes file sharing is doing a lot of work for the entertainment business. In addition to that without file sharing, some of the music would not be purchased anyway, so it is also a way of showing the industry what the people want to listen to, because if I buy it, it means I liked it.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      I definitely agree that word of mouth and trying before you buy gets people interested and in the know. I think what they could do if give every user one free song (of their choice) from every album. That would both get people on their sites, exposing them to music, and getting them to buy. They can definitely afford it, because I know as a book reviewer myself that companies budget out so many books, albums, etc., that they will give away for free in contests and to reviewers to get the word out.


  10. mwiedmeyer March 22, 2015 / 3:11 pm

    Honestly, back when I used to get my music through less-than-legal channels, I wouldn’t have purchased the songs anyways. I was a broke kid in high school (not that I’m not broke now, but you get the idea) and I didn’t have money to spend on music. I wanted to spend money on going out with my friends. So, from my perspective, the music industry wasn’t losing money from me; they wouldn’t have gotten it if I’d had the money to give them. The one candy bar didn’t matter, and I think my situation was shared by most of my friends.
    I do know a lot of people who illegally download or listen on YouTube, then go out and actually purchase the music. I don’t, but I pay for Spotify and do all of my listening there. I think file-sharing can be extremely helpful to the music industry; now, we don’t have to take a leap of faith and purchase a whole album of songs based off of the one single we like on the radio, we can just buy single tracks. Most people are way more willing to spend $1 for a song instead of $15 for a CD, and even more so if they’ve already heard and liked the song. Listening for free gives the customer the satisfaction of knowing they’re going to like what they’ve bought, and that’s comforting in a world where every purchase has a million options and you can never be sure if you’ve got the right one.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 5:07 pm

      I definitely agree. Changing it where you can buy single songs has seriously saved the music industry. Not everyone can afford, or wants to afford, a whole album that they are taking a gamble on. There are plenty of CD’s that I regret buying.


  11. galaradi March 22, 2015 / 3:35 pm

    In the grand scheme of things, I don’t see how downloading a couple of songs can essentially harm an industry. In fact, musicians have learned to adapt with the growing changes of the Internet, piracy, and copyright. They have been releasing their music videos on Youtube Vevo, which is a video hosting service owned by companies such as Universal Music Group, Google, and Sony. In the end, does that benefit the music industry? Yeah, I think it does. Some of the music videos have millions of views on them. People share them on their social media and spread their work. That benefits the artists because they are getting exposure and more popularity.

    Other applications like Spotify, prevent piracy by paying 70% of their revenue to the rights’ holders, which are the labels, publishers, distributors, and artists. There are new and improved ways or listening to music. It’s not as simple as hearing a song on the radio and buying the CD. Yes, it has become more blurry and complicated, but the music industry will always be finding ways to make profit.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 5:10 pm

      I completely agree with you. Like the graph in my post showed, the industry and has building its way back up. They just needed to learn to adapt and with changes like being able to buy single songs, free music videos, and sites like Spotify and Pandora they have learned. It will only get better from here.


  12. kevinpayton1 March 22, 2015 / 3:54 pm

    I think it’s more of an ethical question. I believe file sharing in moderation could be a good thing to the artist and to the media industry. When the word moderation is used that would suggest that there be some limit to the amount or type of files shared. I would suggest that the files have a self-encrypted delete button after they are used for a certain amount of time. It would be like giving sample to the consumer of the entire product and if they like it then they can purchase it. I recall a couple years ago BestBuy music actually did something like this allowing customer to listen to whole cd before buying them. I think that it would actually help the media industry. For instance if you download a file and listen to it for a week and after that week the file encrypts itself so that it could no longer work therefore forcing the consumer to purchase the file. In the grand scheme of things why have consumers steal something that can be given to them with the intent to purchase.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 5:11 pm

      I completely agree with you. In order to fight the battle of people illegally downloading, give it to them for free for a limited time. After that the people who love it will buy it, and those who don’t won’t. No harm, no foul.


  13. seananthony3 March 22, 2015 / 5:36 pm

    I’ll admit to sampling songs on Youtube before I buy the CD (if I end up buying it…), but I rarely buy the CD online. I realized recently that the CDs I get come from second-hand stores selling used CDs which raises the question.. what is the difference between pirating and buying used besides supporting one local business? The creator in the end still receives none of the profits, and the same very well goes for Video Game companies, another industry fallen under the eye of piracy. However, piracy and streaming are, in a way, free advertising. The files get passed around, more people get interested and will end up going to their concerts as a result instead of only those who buy the CD go to the concerts.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:01 pm

      Really great insight and really good question that you bring up. If someone is buying used, the artist nor the record company ever see that money. So what is the difference between that and file sharing? I personally don’t see any unless the store sends a small percent back to the company.


  14. bubbastinx March 22, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Man, this article had me think about the days of Napster, and how I would download a but load of songs before I would by the actual cd.

    I always found that my habits with file sharing programs had always been a healthy one. I would always download a few songs, and listen to them. If I enjoyed the majority of the songs downloaded. I would then by the cd.

    As a consumer of music this was always the best policy for me. There is nothing that I despise of more than buying a full album, and there’s only two tracks that are great out of a 14 track album.

    I enjoy labels that post parts of albums onto sound cloud. I utilize Sound Cloud as I did before, but I also use it to find new artist that aren’t mainstream. It’s been completely successful in this.

    What other ways do you use Sound Cloud?


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:02 pm

      I personally have never used soundcloud, but that is a really great incentive of putting a big sample for people to try.


  15. mstor763 March 22, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    I personally agree with the majority here and feel the candy bar example really has no value in comparison (pretty much apple to oranges) But I get the moral aspect you are trying to achieve behind it. Essentially as you stated in your findings, the act of file sharing has created a positive side effect. I feel we have all done it once or twice in our life, hell some may do it weekly. Ultimately it is wrong and not acceptable in any attempt of an exception. As others have pointed out as well there are other tools out there like Itunes that allow you to purchase the one or two songs you are truly after instead of the whole album that you do not even care to own.

    Another aspect I feel that some are over looking are apps like itunes radio, or songza, or pandora. With apps like that do you really need to download those songs? do you need to purchase them? I bring this up as I use to buy songs for 70 cents or w/e they may be, but after itunes radio came out, i just listen to that. I even listen to that in my vehicle instead of the radio.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:04 pm

      You bring up a really good point, but I do feel using the radio apps is basically like listening to the radio in your car. There are less commercials and more targeted channels (plus you can skip songs), but at the end of the day you only have a small amount of control over it.


  16. blcarr March 22, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    Artist complain about their music being shared online before its release. But if you think about it, it’s doing nothing but helping them in reality. Think about it. If you’re a new artist with a nice, no one is going to buy your album. These albums today sell off word of mouth. Giving the artist more widespread exposure which in the end helps them make more money. Why would anyone in their right mind pay for something that is given to you for free? Artist may not make as much money on sales, but if their music is good, they’ll make it back while on tour and performing guest appearances on other artist tracks.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:07 pm

      Really great point! If you can get it for free, it would be silly to be (besides the fact that the free is illegal, of course). Artist make most of their money on concert ticket and Merch. sales, so again why can’t we get free access to their recordings?


  17. smkiraco March 22, 2015 / 9:30 pm

    I think that in moderation there is more good to be benefited from piracy if handled correctly. For example, CD Projekt Red. They handle the piracy of their video games extremely well and have obtained high praise from their consumers partially because of this. They do not mind much that their games get pirated. Instead as that those who do share their opinion of their games to help spread word-of-mouth. I think they are also the same developer who used those who got their hands on one of their games early to help tweak the game before its official release.

    As for the whole candy bar quote, no I do not think it should matter. Let me elaborate. Gabe Newell once said that piracy is a service problem more so than a pricing problem, and I agree. If something is easier to get illegally, piracy in this case, than legally, then you can be certain that many would resort to piracy. There were a few bands and some game developers who decided to let people choose what they want to pay for the album or game(s) for sale. Even free. Turns out the majority of people who downloaded their content chose to pay and some paid more than the price would be originally.

    I guess what I am saying is that DRM should not be so restrictive that it unintentionally encourages people to pirate content.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:09 pm

      Great example and good justification for your point. I completely agree with you. It is interesting to hear that people are illegally obtaining video games, as I haven’t heard of this before.


  18. stefaniedak March 22, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    I agree with everyone in that “one candy bar doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things” and agree with the ways in which file-sharing has been beneficial to the music industry. If you were the artist putting out music, you’d most likely be against any type of file-sharing but, if you were to illegally download a specific song and then, after one listen, decide that you really liked the artist, are you going to go to iTunes and purchase the entire album? Probably. You might even decide to purchase a premium music streaming subscription. With the growing popularity of Spotify, Rhapsody, etc., less people are actually illegally downloading music and rather, listening for a small subscription fee. File-sharing (in regards to music) was a huge issue a few years back, but I believe that today many people do actually practice file-sharing in moderation, and it doesn’t seem to be all that bad or making a large negative impact as pointed out by Lily Rothman. Therefore, file-sharing shouldn’t be completely written off, and that probably will never happen, but should continue to only be practiced in moderation.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:11 pm

      I agree. I feel as the years go on either more and more people will sign up for subscriptions with spotify or the record companies will find a new way of dealing with the issue. Either way it will only lessen the effect pirating has, and will cause more and more people to stray from it.


  19. bjuhasz10 March 22, 2015 / 9:53 pm

    The question you pose is very interesting. There are many stores that consistently give away free items every week (for example, I know Kroger will give away free candy bar this week, free half gallon of milk next week, etc.). Obviously stores don’t make any money off of this, but the theory behind it is while some people will come and only take the free candy bar, most people will come in and spends lots of money on other items.

    The difference between that and piracy, however, is the fact that piracy is illegal. While I do believe that file sharing in moderation could help the industry, at the end of the day it is still illegal, and I am not sure what can be done to regulate file sharing and piracy.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:14 pm

      This is the exact dilemma that people are facing. There are so many examples of how pirating isn’t that bad, yet it is still illegal. Have you ever had a situation where people kept doing something “wrong” so you finally tell them it is ok to do and they end up doing it less? I feel the same thing could happen if we legalized file sharing. People might not stop doing it, but it would cause companies to find more creative ways to make money.


  20. elrader2015 March 22, 2015 / 10:05 pm

    In regards to pirating music, I’ve always been a little torn on the issue but ultimately I stand by pirating in most cases. My reasoning is that while artists see it as stealing their intellectual property and not paying them for essentially doing their job, regardless of pirating they are still making a killing. For example, when Taylor Swift recently refused to allow her music play on Spotify, I felt she was betraying her fans. Taylor Swift makes multi-millions off of her concerts, merchandise, music and deals she has with various companies. If some of her fans can’t afford to spend extra money on all of her albums, is it really hurting her pocketbook that badly? It seems that an artist who truly cares about her fans would want them to have equal access to her music and surely there are still millions of fans willing to pay and that shows in her record sales.

    I suppose it is different for artists on the rise who are trying to make a name for themselves, but this is why I pick and choose the music that I am willing to pay for. If I want to support an artist that I think has a large impact on my musical life, then I will splurge on their albums, but being a college student, I would be broke if I paid for every album I wanted to download. I understand the issues people have with pirating, but as fans, we’re spreading the word about our favorite artists and getting the word out about them. Is this a fair trade off?


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:16 pm

      Great example! It wouldn’t hurt Taylor swift at all to allow people to listen to her on spotify. In fact it might make her more money as she will be getting more exposure.


  21. akuelbs March 22, 2015 / 10:24 pm

    File sharing has been around way before piracy, it was just individuals who decided to take advantage of file sharing to get music out to people for free and because of that piracy has transformed into what it is today. The big thing is when you talk about piracy, i bet you a majority of people have done it at some point in their life, even if they aren’t willing to admit it. The level and amount of illegally downloaded materials will differ between each individual which bring in the candy analysis. If you download stuff for free at small amounts, then it wont greatly effect the grand scheme of things, but say you download hundreds of thousands, then that is definitely a big deal when you look at it. It all truly depends on the activity of the individual and how much they download. Yes, piracy does take money from industries and individuals but the big thing about piracy is how are you going to stop it. The big problem that has been around for years and years are how can you regulate it or put a stop to it. Say you shut down a website or program, new ones will just keep popping up. it’s like using the reference of a hydra, cut off one head and two more will take its place. Piracy will survive because there truly isn’t anything that can be done to stop it.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:17 pm

      Good point. The only thing to do really, is to legalize it.


  22. Ms.McCollum March 22, 2015 / 10:39 pm

    I think that what Lily Rothman from Time Magazine mentioned is accurate: that is, file sharing is ok if you are willing to find other things to pay for. If I pirate something, although I am not the one paying for the movie or song, it is ok because of the amount of people that are already paying for it. Also, if someone really enjoys an artist or a band, if they keep making really good music, most people will eventually purchase at least something from that artist or band.

    In one of my ethics classes right now, we are discussing why it is ok to take from the rich and give to the poor. It is kind of similar in the entertainment industry. Most of the songs being pirated are generally from artists that are millionaires. Also, generally, up and coming music artists don’t really have their music pirated, in fact, most of them give away their music for free to get their names out. Most people will support up and coming artists financially, but don’t feel the need to keep paying millionaires for their music.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:19 pm

      Good insight! It is like someone mentioned earlier, Taylor swift is HUGELY success yet she doesn’t let people have free access to her songs on spotify. At the end of the day it kind of looks bad on her for being greedy. Whether it is her decision or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. lewenzel93 March 22, 2015 / 10:59 pm

    I am honestly pretty surprised that file-sharing doesn’t negatively affect the industry in a huge way. It just seems pretty obvious that people are always going to want to save money instead of have to spend it on luxuries like music, movies, and other files of that entertainment nature. However, based on the readings of this week, file sharing in moderation is a positive thing and actually motivates consumers to spend money they wouldn’t have otherwise wanted to spend. Lily Rothman’s question about stealing the one candy bar and does spending more money on other things justify stealing it has multiple points. As a criminal justice major, it’s pretty black and white to me that stealing is wrong. But from a business stand point, the consumer is getting what they want, and businesses are making more profit. I think from the business stand point, the one stolen song/movie/file really doesn’t make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. doniecew March 22, 2015 / 11:35 pm

    I want to start off by saying that this was one of the best blogs that I’ve read thus far. (No offense to anyone). But this topic is so easily relatable, that it really touches home. Downloading music, movies, and books is a everyday thing for a lot of us. It’s something that we grew up learning and doing, even before becoming a part of social media’s. Well at least it was for me. I was a master of copying My dad’s CD’s onto our computer and then downloading them onto my MP3 player. Even now I have a hundred songs downloaded onto my phone, but I’ve never thought of this as stealing.

    The candy bar question is a good way to ask a question for us to understand it in a different perspective. As I stated in some of my tweets, I think that the piracy issue actually helps get the word out about some music and movies, so on. From a different perspective, why put all this money into a song or music that people won’t even listen to. If people download it, like it, support it, then put more money into for a CD, a video, and so on.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:47 pm

      I think incorporating the candy bar question was a good idea, because like you said it makes people see it from a different perspective. Comparing something that we know is wrong to someone were not sure is wrong anymore is very eye opening.


  25. hessaj March 22, 2015 / 11:37 pm

    File sharing can be very beneficial in the long run. It’s kind of like promotion for the product they’re selling, and if they like it, more than likely they’ll start contributing. I’ve seen a lot of artists in fact leak their own album on YouTube a week before the release of their newest album, and that has proven to boost sales, from what I’ve seen. The phenomenon that is the Internet is a great tool, used to share the music and influence others. So eventually it can all work out. A lot of people now, including myself, just use Spotify for their source of favorite music, but that’s another story.


    • rmpaulk March 22, 2015 / 11:49 pm

      Good point! What the industry needs to do is find a way to make this work FOR them and not against them. Like your example, putting up the CD for free right before the release, people get to sample it and end up buying their own copy.


  26. thegradytrain March 22, 2015 / 11:50 pm

    File sharing, like a lot of things has both good uses and bad uses. In the past I have used file sharing as a medium for both good and bad uses. Like a lot of people I have used services like Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, and Torrent clients. I have used them to try products but I have never sold them for my own profit. I honestly have been burned too much by purchasing whole albums to want to buy them. What I mean is that I would find a artist I think I like and buy an album and only like one song. I remember as a child playing computer games that were downloaded and burned to CDs and I not knowing the difference for a long time between what was pirated and legitimately purchased. There is also a side of file-sharing that I have seen recently and that is using for file distribution. Since Torrents work by sort of crowdsourcing a download server I have used to download games and files that I have legitimately purchased, in fact I think I remember the developers even promoting the use of it over traditional download.

    In the grand scheme, I think it doesn’t make too much of a difference. Sure, some artists would probably be richer without their songs being pirated but maybe they would not be as recognized as much as they are now. Today, I support artists with my money if I know that I will like whatever they produce, I use other services like Soundcloud, Spotify, and YouTube to get a feel for artists I am not sure about.


    • Rmpaulk March 23, 2015 / 12:00 am

      I do the same thing. If I don’t want to commit to buying just yet I listen on spotify. After listening to it over and over if im not sick of it, I buy.


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