Illegal downloading: time to consider the consequences

Connor Cherry, Staff Writer

Finally the bell rings and the school day is over once again. The drive home is relaxing and a new song is played on the radio. The song is particularly good and the urge to buy it is rising. But the funds in the iTunes account are lacking. “What do I do now”, you ask yourself. Suddenly you remember the words of that cool hipster senior in your weight training class. “Dude, I use The Pirate Bay for all my music. I save so much money.” So you walk in the door, download Bit Torrent, and go to the Pirate Bay. The hit song is quickly found and downloaded to your computer without a single ITunes dollar vanishing from your account.

This is a common occurrence in the everyday life of countless Americans and fellow Patriots. The popularity of illegal downloading is on the rise due to websites like The Pirate Bay. As a result, many people are turning to illegal downloads to save money while expanding their music and movie collections. The reasons why people would pirate music makes sense due to the economic downturn in this country, the extortionist $1.29 per song which ITunes charges, and simply the allure of saving money. Whatever the reason, there are real consequences for these actions.

According to the Record Industry Association of America, the rise of illegal downloading due to sites like Napster has caused industry profits to fall by 47 percent since 1999. The profits have fallen from $14.6 billion to $7.7 billion. In addition a recent study by them also reported that only 37 percent of music was purchased legally in 2009. This is billions of dollars that are lost from the producers and artists who work hard to make the music you love. Now people are rarely punished for illegal downloading, but the risk is there. When someone does get punished, however, they are made an example of to deter future would be pirates. The fees can add up to $30,000 per work which was illegally downloaded. This adds up fast if you pirate multiple works.  These consequences will affect you if you are caught.

So what can you do about this?

Fellow Patriots, instead of illegally downloading this Christmas season, pick one of your favorite artists and actually buy one of their albums or singles. Help allow the band to continue delivering new songs and records to the public. Because illegal downloading is very common place, it is unrealistic to suggest stopping illegal downloading all together but consider the consequences of your actions and make the decision to support deserving artists during this season of giving.