"Worldwide financial losses from piracy are immense, $ 13 billion lost per year bythe computer software industry; $2. 5 billion lost per year by the movie industry, and $4. 1 billion lost per year by the music industry"; (Hatcher, 1). Astonishingly, one of the most commonly used piracy schemes derives from a computer file format. Mp 3's, also known as MPEG-1 Audio layer-3, are highly compressed, CD-quality sound files that have become the most commonly used unofficial file format, which are downloadable from the Internet (web 1). Mp 3 files may contain several types of audio and video, including music, computer software, and movies (Rosenbaum, 2).

There is almost no music site that one may goto where an Mp 3 of some sort is offered, hence the Internet allows users to download songs in a matter of minutes without paying any money (Rosenbaum, 1). Over the past years, both the music and movie industry along with major software developers have become increasingly aggressive about tracking people who trade and download Mp 3 files containing music, movies, and software, from the Internet (Hatcher, 1). Piracy violates copyright laws and artists lose millions of dollars yearly, thus it is morally wrong. Downloading these files from web sites and peer-to-peer software should be banned and made illegal. Mp 3's are widely used by teenagers on their computers usually illegally, and their distributors are constantly being threatened by the producers of the music (Bender, 3).

"Mp 3's are breaking copyright laws and are a part of online piracy"; (Bender, 2). Online piracy is playing, or downloading songs and lyrics without authorization and tribute to the artists' (Hatcher, 4). The same standard applies with Mp 3 files containing movies or computer software programs. Downloading even one illegal Mp 3 without permission is considered online piracy.

When people download Mp 3's from the Internet, they choose to ignore the copyright laws because the disclaimers are literally written under 10 pts font size at the bottom of the page (Bender, 3). If people stop going to the site, it may lose money, hence all factors that might make a user leave the site are un purposely hidden. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has two copyrights that apply to Mp 3's (Bender, 4). First, "copyright in musical work lyrics and musical notes as they are written"; (Bender, 5), the songwriter or music publisher typically owns this copyright.

Second, "copyright in the sound recording which is a recording of a performer singing or playing the particular song"; (Bender, 6). Since the record company usually owns this copyright, the only legal way to copy, download, and upload an Mp 3 is to get permission from the artist, which most people either forget or do not bother. This in term violates the RIAA copyright laws which is considered illegal (Bender, 7). Although many people admit that Mp 3's are a breakthrough in technology, others argue that they are not just bad, but horrifying to musicians that want to make it to the top.

The problem is that millions and millions of dollars are lost everyday to all of the musicians, producers, and software corporations that make music, movies, and software possible (Rosenbaum, 5). According to the Canadian Industry Association, there are around 80, 000 Mp 3 sites on the Internet and each one is carrying around 300 or more recordings each (Rosenbaum, 3). That means that there are around 24 million songs that are illegally on the Internet. The RIAA calculated that there are 120 million downloads from Mp 3 sites weekly and climbing, representing an annual loss of $5 billion to the recording industry and approximately $1 million a day in the United States alone (Rosenbaum, 6). According to Brian Robertson, who is currently the president of the CRIA, "an over exceeded amount of money is being lost." He states that there are tens of thousands of sound recordings that are basically sitting around in a virtual record store with the door wide open and everyone is helping themselves (Rosenbaum, 1). In addition, because of an increase in hard rive capacity that computers contain presently, Mp 3 downloading is higher than ever which means that artists' and corporations are literally being robbed.

So how long will recording companies and artists allow money to fall out of their pockets by some thirteen-year old who has no clue about the copyrights or laws he / she is breaking? According to the five largest global music and entertainment companies which include Time Warner Inc. , EMI, Sony, Seagram, and Bertelsmann, not for long (web 7). All five corporations have formed an alliance with big computer businesses such as IBM to better assure anti piracy in their products and to become educated upon the piracy issue (web 8). In other words, the battle is just beginning. As for others that have a different perspective, people need to know that even though an Mp 3 file may only be a couple of mouse clicks away, they are creating a dilemma which affects musicians and software corporations greatly.

Lastly, one of the most common statements that people say regarding artists' and money is "who cares if we download their music from the Internet, they make enough money and should not worry about the issue"; (Rosenbaum, 2). Although it is factual that popular artists make lots of money, the act of illegally downloading music from the Internet is morally wrong. "Many have argued the problem to be a moral issue instead of a legal mis-proportion"; (Bender, 3). If someone was a musicians, and he / she worked extremely hard producing a song, he / she must be rewarded with an award (in this case, money). But what would happen to the musician if statistics show that 95% of his / her salary was based upon fees (Bender, 9)? This means that 95 % of the money the musician makes is based upon sales. If I were a musician, I surely would not appreciate people downloading my music.

Essentially, it boils down to personal rights, and what someone considers a person's right to an income. In a market economy, a person has a right to collect income for anything they produce which has value to a given person. Music while not having any "raw" resources from which an artist has already invested, it was an investment of time to produce that music, pay for a sound studio, record it, promote it, etc. "When a person removes the mechanisms in which artists are reimbursed for their investments, they are stealing from them, directly"; (web).

A widely popular legal case that involved illegal Mp 3 downloading and the theoretical moral issue was the popular Napster case. Napster, created by 19-year-old Shawn Fanning in 1999, gave individuals access to other's MP 3 files by creating a unique file-sharing system via the Internet (web). Users could view and download the contents of MP 3 directories from other Napster user's hard drives. Napster argued that because the MP 3 files did not reside on Napster's servers, nor did Napster charge a fee for the service, its operations fell within the purview of the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (web).

The RIAA, standing for all it's recording companies, claimed that what Napster was doing was a violation of the copyrights of the music owners, whether Napster made profits from this act or not, and compare the acts to buying a house. If one s pended all the money on the labor, materials, etc, one would expect to be paid when someone moved in, if that person did not pay oneself he / she would theoretically be called a thief web). Unless the person has a copy of the original C. D. , he / she may not download Mp 3 files such as music and movies or share them, the same theory is applies to computer software. This situation may be compared to many real life occurrences.

If someone had the opportunity to do something that was wrong, would that person do it? It is a theft of revenue, and in this nation, theft is illegal, and immoral. "The problem that society presently faces amongst the illegal downloading of music, movies, and computer software is immense, and it is not helped by the fact that for many young teens online, trading in these pirated Mp 3 files is considered a very cool thing to do"; (Hatcher, 5). Downloading illegal Mp 3 files off the Internet is one of the most popular and controversial issues on the Internet today and probably will be for a long time. As technology improves, these files are being downloaded and distributed over the Internet more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Most downloaders do not realize the impact, effects and consequences of downloading illegal Mp 3's from the Internet. The price of a C.

D. , a D. V. D. , or a popular computer program is expensive, and paying $20 per month for access to the Internet along with all the free Mp 3 downloads that will come in hand, is a bargain for people. What people do not know is that in the long run, they would only be hurting themselves..