Until 18th century, musicians and composers make money only with the support of patronage from high class group and churches. Nowadays, musicians could make a fortune by selling music works in forms of albums, concerts and online downloading. With the development of technology, more and more people prefer do online downloading. The process of music market has been significantly influenced by the technological advances that have determined the production, dissemination, and reception of music(Reebee). Along with the growing of online downloading, the number of illegal music downloading also increases. Then it leads the issue of copyright problem.
Copyright management is no longer simply a question of ownership(Margret). Should copyright gets more legal offensive? Otherwise, it ultimately did harm to music industry. And some people suggest government just allow open access to online music downloading to create a better public-relations for the industry. In a word, a change needs to be make. The U.S. Government can pay more attention to the policy of illegal downloading music and make proper adjustment to the policy based on both the comparison of illegal music downloading in China and it in U.S. and its effect on music industry and copyright problem.
I. Background Description of Music Industry and Illegal Download Music
The annual revenue of music industry in U.S. has recently reached 15.2 billion dollars. However in 2013, mobile music revenue amounted to 97.6 million U.S. dollars, down from 166.9 million a year earlier(statista.com). Two big parts of music selling are the CD sales and online downloading. With the sharply rising of itunes, traditional CD selling becomes less popular between public. Wall Street Journal reported the in March 2007, CD sales have dropped 20 percent in one year. Around one billion songs a month are being traded on illegal file-sharing networks. As a result of this decline in CD sales, a significant amount of record stores are going out of business and “…making it harder for consumers to find and purchase older titles in stores.
Most illegal music download websites use P2P service. However, it is against the copyright law because it involves the sharing of copyrighted materials without permission from the copyright owner. P2P service touches upon not only music or movie files, but also TV programs, books and images(Stanford). Shawn Fanning’s Napster is a good example of online music file sharing service. Its technology allows people to share files like MP3 among each other. This kind of file sharing has a negative impact on record sales. “Music sales have globally dropped from approximately $38 billion in 1999 to $32 billion in 2003, and that this downward trend coincides with the advent of Napster in June 1999.”(Alejandro Zentner) It interpreted as the latest sign of the shift in the way people acquire their music. Thousands of people steal music via the Internet. The whole industry is set to drop its legal assault to combat online music piracy. This decision is a strategy change for the music and recording industry, which has opened legal proceedings against thousands of people.
Background Description of Copyright
Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works(copyright.gov). So, music that was published should have protection from U.S. Government because of the copyright law. And in the 1831 amendment, it states clearly that owners of musical works are the only people who have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute and publicly performing of works. Only those standard online music store have the authorization of music composers. So we can get the conclusion that any unpaid and unauthorized music downloading should all be defined as an illegal activities that breaks the U.S. Copyright law.
Copyright in digital age does not mean the same thing as it does in the past 50 years. Nowadays, national copyright laws have been standardized to some extent through international and regional agreements. Although there are consistencies among nations’ copyright laws, each jurisdiction has separate and distinct laws and regulations about copyright. Some jurisdictions also recognizemoral rights of creators, such as the right to be credited for the work. Digital technology introduces a new level of controversy into copyright policy, for instance, Enactment of Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Enactment of the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty.
Data Table Chart And Analysis
These two charts are made by Intellectual Property Office. They worked for three months on this study of copyright and they found Internet Users tend not to pay for downloading things like music. And most of them do purchase other things that are legal content. So, the whole bad environment “encourages” Internet users to do illegal music downloading. And it is predicted that these 83% of these people most likely will change to download music in standard way as long as there are proper system management.
II. Public’s Variable Opinions on Illegal Download Music and Its Influences.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have held liable when copyrighted material is made available over the Internet without authorization of rights holders(Song). He mentioned questions like “Google’s controversial Library Project to scan millions of books into digital format an ambitious plan for public good or is it just another format of copyright infringement under the digital age? When audience enjoys watching live broadcasts of sports events, who are the rights holders behind the scene, and how do they protect their rights and interests from being infringed?” All these questions have become highly important under the digital age, and therefore drawn serious attention from legal scholars and legislators worldwide.
Commentators such as Barlow have argued that digital copyright is fundamentally different and will remain persistently difficult to enforce; others such as Stallman have argued that the Internet deeply undermines the economic rationale for copyright in the first place. These perspectives may lead to the consideration of alternative compensation systems in place of exclusive rights for all types of information, including software, books, movies, and music. Some opinion-leading people do have a variety of opinions on the topic. The director of product design at Facebook, Margaret Gould Stewart states on the TED speech that sometimes brings good impact on both the artist and related people. Someone posted a Youtube video of a wedding opening, and the background music of this video is Chris Brown’s “Forever”. This is technologically illegal because the person who posted the video did not ask permission from the song writer. After the video is posted, their little wedding got 40 million views. The video’s inspired over 26000 dollars in donations to end domestic violence. And also because of this wedding, this song came back to Billboard ranking, which benefits both the song writer and singer. So, Sony, the owner company of this song, decided not to blame the guy for breaking copyright law. Aaron Swartz, a computer programmer, illegally downloaded millions of academic journal articles from JSTOR. He had been working on Stop Online Privacy Act(SOPA). So he wanted to publish these journals to websites that give free and open access to academic journals for readers. He said that “The Online Privacy bill … shut down whole websites. Essentially, it stopped Americans from communicating entirely with certain groups…”.
Even though many people do not consider the illegal music downloading the “worst” thing, most people do consider the illegal download music a negative thing. They think that illegal download music has negative impact on music industry and the composers. Lower-valued music will see decreased revenues(Ram). So, the income of those unknown musicians will be greatly affected by the music sharing technologies. Free access to music works lead to much more information available about the artists being open to the public. And “A relatively large amount of information available about superstar artists significantly reduces the variability in consumer expectations of their music(Sanders). Then a bad cycle will happen, which harms the whole music industry. The copyright in music industry is not perfect, so proper adjustment to the copyright law needs to be made. Strategies and reforms are important here.
Concern on copyright in public and illegal download music‘s influence in the public should be raised.“The illegal sharing of music has impacted the way the music industry markets and promotes its artists. The introduction of Napster and illegal downloading helped usher in a new era of digitally accessible music where singles trump a full-length album. To expose its artists to a wider audience, the music industry has had to develop and deploy new tactics like ring tones and digital licensing music to sites like YouTube and Pandora. Touring and promotional deals are more lucrative for the music industry than selling songs”(RIAA). Because of the increasing illegal download music. New marketing strategies should be considered.“Consumption of music via digital computer networks is of greatest concern to the music industry, insofar as it is the most clear way in which purchasing and listening practices are being reshaped by new technologies”(Steve). Investor of the music downloading website can focus on the page viewing profit instead of the traditional payment. The high cost of buying the music greatly reduce the customers’ interest and also make the page view of the website decline. Besides, scholars believe that new Internet technique will be discover and developed by billions of Internet users, and finally free access to downloading music is the ultimate choice for everyone. Many new programs have already been created since the original Napster such as Ares, Limewire, and Kazaa.
With the ability of information transmitting of Internet. More and more people learn how to do illegal downloading music and do sharing music with each other.
The graph clearly showed that plenty of opportunities are available for people. And also a large number of people bring up the question that how come youtube video sharing music is free and it is legal, but there is a cost if it is downloading music. So, there might be a gray area about copyright and this kind of idea is involving. Perhaps in the next few decades, the determination of breaking copyright will completely different.
III. Chinese Policy and Industry Structure on Music Downloading
For direction, the world looks to influential legal regimes arising from the U.S. copyright law, the EU Directives, along with the jurisprudence and legal theory that attaches to each. But the world also looks to China, where a rapidly evolving legal regime holds its own course. As of December 2013, the Chinese internet userbase stands at 618m, a growth of 9.5% on the previous year, bringing penetration to a humble 45.8%. The mobile internet population broke the 500m mark, growing 19.1% from the end of 2012. Big numbers, for sure, but it is perhaps more telling that the China Internet Network Information Center – a government-backed internet administrative body and the source of the numbers quoted above – characterize the next phase of internet development as being a move from “quantity” to “quality”. In the rush to scale, we are left with a shoddily regulated ocean of copyright infringement, black box accounting, fictional traffic numbers and general mistrust between the content providers, service providers and advertisers. A great optimism that 73.4% of Chinese netizens use the internet to consume digital music – the fourth highest use of the internet after instant messaging, news and search, yielding a digital music audience of a little over 450m – there is still some way to go before this audience starts to pay its way (CNNIC) .
More and more music works are appreciated by these users when the access to these works are widely open. IFPI reported that China’s 2012 digital trade revenues were $75.5m – an 82% digital market – up from $64.3m the year before. Domestic rights owners report the numbers to be higher than this, but we are still talking a few US cents of ARPU. Up until fairly recently, China was understood to be a hit-driven music culture in which hit songs were used as a cultural currency that enabled people to blend in with their peer groups. Music services would routinely only present their catalogues as charts of Top 200 Male Singers, Top 200 Female Singers, Top 100 J-Pop Songs and so on, with failure to make it into these charts almost guaranteeing anonymity in the poorly curated non-chart nether worlds.
Users in Chinese have a lot of opinions when they are given free access to all music works. In the last few years, however – DSP showed that the majority of Chinese audience “do not care what they are listening to” – this perception has changed. What appears to be a depressing lack of engagement with music is probably better read as being a pervasive lack of genre awareness. Without genre, the user is limited to the most fundamental of active choices – “What mood am I in right now?” – opening up the door to a whole new era of mood-, theme- and location-related playlists. Mood, in effect, becomes the genre, with one active choice leading to hours of passive and lean back discovery. From an international repertoire perspective, this is good news. As digital service providers re-tool their once-chart-focused products to include elaborate playlist-driven curation, there is an increasing need for content to populate these playlists. The Chinese music universe is, by some estimations, between 200k and 300k songs (of wildly varying quality) and the market is around 80% domestic repertoire, so there will need to be a massive influx of good quality music to satisfy this new playlist space. While hits will always remain important, it looks like playlists may bring about the long-awaited arrival of the long tail in China, in large part from imported content. The biggest infringers are the country’s largest internet companies – Baidu, Sohu. Sogou and Yahoo China – which provide specialized “deep link” services giving direct access to millions of copyright-infringing music files. Baidu is the biggest single violator of music copyrights and by far the greatest obstacle to legisimate digital commerce in China.
Music’s cultural and economic value in China is enormous. It includes entertainment(karaoke, clubs TV/radio programming), Internet search, and mobile entertainment. Each time a song is ordered in a karaoke bar, the composer and singer of this song will receive an amount of money. Copyright law has minimal practice on Chinese Internet. Some content sites make good faith attempt to license content; most do not. And most users get their music free through search engines.
Copyright is called Intellectual property rights in China. IPRs is used to protect both Chinese works and intellectual property from foreign counties. However, many people knows that it is free to download music from most popular websites and searching engines. It looks illegal to U.S. and against its Chinese Intellectual property rights. Are those Chinese mainstream breaking their IPRs? Actually, a lawsuit has just been closed in 2011. Three companies sued Baidu on its service of free access to free downloading music. Even though Baidu needs to pay for the each download music of their users, this No.1 Chinese searching engine decide to keep their users the free access to music works. Their strategy is that more engagement in the website brings more potential consumers, and this is their profit model. Right now, Baidu is one of the most profitable companies in China, and Li, Baidu’s CEO, became the No.3 of the richest men in China. So, proper adjustment to copyright actually bring benefits to both companies and customers.
To get a possible solution to this problem, we can get ideas by the comparison and contrast between music industry in China and it in America. American government could encourage and support those related companies to explore this kind of services like what Baidu provides. Some people might talked about different music industry situation should be considered carefully and comprehensively. To the examine the feasibility of the solution, we can look into how popular songs business will respond to it. “But looking round our present musical culture, popular songs seem to provide a good place for experimental attempts at analysis to start – simply because, as common-sense interpretation tells us, ‘movement’ is usually so important here. More clearly than in, say, classical symphony or chamber music, this music is unquestionably rooted in the structures, inner processes and operational patterns of the secular human body”(Richard). Popular music business will grow by making the access to download music free for those Internet users. Some unofficial websites provides illegal downloading music only for music that has low quality. So, to encourage users to surf the official websites more often, these websites could provide higher quality music. With the needs for better listening experiences, people tend to go to official websites that provide high quality music. So, the profit made from more page views of the official websites should be more profitable than the payment website gave to the music composers for copyrights.
To sum up, we came up a possible solution to the copyright problem in America that based on both the comparison of illegal music downloading in China and it in U.S. and its effect on music industry and copyright problem. In the this situation, U.S. Government plays an important role. Illegal download music causes the disrespect and the bad influence to both musicians and music industry. And to prove the needs for change in copyright policy, plenty of brilliant ideas of public and opinion-leading persons on the subject have provided and explained above. Of course, the adjustments to the policy should be made carefully and comprehensively. In public, importance of copyright should also be advocated in public.