The Record Industry Continues Battle Against Free Music Downloads

Both movie and record producers claim file-sharing network that allows users to copy other network members’ files are infringing copyright laws. It is costing billions in lost revenue.

The record industry claims that 25% of its revenues has been lost due to computer thieves using peer-to­peer file-sharing network to download music for free.

Grokster Ltd. is known for its Grokster software file-sharing program and StreamCast Networks Inc. where the Morpheus software music downloads is distributed.

Grokster & Morpheus did a unique spin on the file-sharing phenomenon. Instead of indexing files shared like Napster, file-sharing products enable its network members build their own indexes. This enables others to download free music or movie files.

While some musicians are protesting being cheated by illegal music downloads, others are supporting the fact that music, movies, images, and copy are all being shared over Internet.

Some music lovers use the file-sharing network to download the latest album before buying a CD. However, it may contain only one good song. You will still have people who will not buy the CD but will continue to benefit from the free music downloads networks Fakaza.

Many file-sharing users believe that this network is beneficial for the music industry. File-sharing networks can introduce listeners and fans to small, independent bands that may not be heard on mainstream radio.

Apple’s iTunes Store has many people turning their backs on file sharing networks. Apple claims that it sells more songs each day than any other music store and they pay 99 cents for every song. iTunes is still limited and file sharing networks are able to fill the gap by having unlimited access music and movies not available from iTunes.

Individuals who downloaded music without paying for it were sued by record companies in 2003. With file-sharing sites like Grokster, Morpheus and others it will be harder for the recording industries to find individual users who have uploaded files.

Now that the Supreme Court is involved, they will likely issue some sort of ruling in June 2005 about what action to take against the file-sharing network developers.

If you make a wrong decision, it could hinder the future development and use of file-sharing software programs such as the iPod.

Grokster & Morpheus have no control over or knowledge of the content being downloaded. This led to a Los Angeles federal court and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting the copyright infringement claims against both file-sharing networks.

Based on the Supreme Court’s 1984 ruling declaring that Sony Betamax could be used to make copies at home copyrighted TV shows was legal.

The record industry angle last week was that companies like Grokster, Morpheus and others are advertising their software will allow access to free copies copyrighted materials. They should be sued and shut them down.

Although the jury may still be out on this, file sharing networks with free music downloads and free music downloads will continue. Users won’t really have to worry about getting sued because they only download a small amount of music each month.


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