Piracy in the Entertainment Industry
The dawn of the digital revolution, which has come with new trends such as privacy has not been received well by the entertainment industry. Accordingly, piracy has been largely viewed as an unethical practice because it affects the sales of both music and movies by individual artists and companies. This is especially because individuals are able to access such songs and movies through downloads from the various websites they have access to. Piracy is also perceived worse for the negative impact it has on the growth of musicians in the industry. Nonetheless, there might be many other reasons for the decline of the entertainment industry other than piracy. However, the negative effects of piracy cannot be basically deemed wrongful harming because they do not necessarily violate the morally justified property rights. Piracy is not unethical either because it also it benefits musicians in another quarter by increasing their popularity among their fans who download and listen to their music. More so, companies are benefitting because they have more marketing opportunities to sell their movies and music as a result of the popularity that piracy brings to the market. Thesis: While piracy is not entirely ethical because of its effects on the profitability of companies and musicians’ growth, it is not exactly unethical either because it contributes to the popularity of musicians, it also makes it easier for companies to sell movies at times, and it is reflective of the current digital age that must be upheld.
People all over the globe would agree that piracy is an unethical practice because it is responsible for the dwindling sales and plummeting profits for companies in the entertainment industry. With the availability of many sites to download music and movies, many consumers prefer accessing them on the internet rather than waiting for them to get to the market. They believe that it is much cheaper downloading the different pieces of music and movies on the internet rather than purchasing them from the relevant music and movie stores. For instance, For instance, Grossman, et. al point out that CD shipments to the market went down by 6% in 2001, and much of this is directly attributable to piracy where individuals access large volumes of this music before it gets to the market. The reduction in the shipment of CDs has an automatic impact on the ability if companies to sale them in the market because of the declined level of consumption. Karsten Strauss adds a voice to the unethical nature of piracy by bringing out the view that Wolfe Video, an independent U.S. film distributed has witnessed its profits being halved because of the high level of privacy and the costs of trying to mitigate the costs from privacy. This leads to the question, are companies losing the whole battle to piracy? Will they be able to bear the costs of mitigating piracy even as it continues escalating? These questions further highlight the nature of piracy because it seems to have brought entertainment companies to their knees. It is inevitable to mention that some of them have been forced to retrench some part of their employees to keep up with the rising costs of operation emanating from the struggle to deal with the scourge of piracy.
More so, piracy is unethical somehow because it kills careers of musicians looking forward to grow in the industry and establish their own careers. Most young musicians get into the music and movie industry with the desire of making a career out of them. They bring in all their resources in terms of the talent they possess with the need of establishing strong careers as musicians Nevertheless, piracy has been responsible for shattering their dreams at an early age since they do not get to sale their music and movie CDs to consumers who would offer support to their growth in their career growth through the purchase of music. Piracy has made it far much easier for individuals to listen to their music freely hence reducing any chances of prosperity for young musicians. Only unscrupulous businesspeople in the piracy industry benefit at the expense of these musicians. Is it ethical to kill young careers of actors and musicians through piracy? The question is obvious and it presents piracy as one of the most unethical practices that must be stopped urgent to enhance the growth of the music and movie industry. Putting stricter laws in place would play an instrumental role in mitigating the effects of piracy on young and aspiring musicians. The available and upcoming talent will be easily preserved in instances where there are clear rules focused on fighting piracy. However, the continued emergence of technology poses a challenge to this, and only extends the unethical nature of piracy and individuals who facilitate it.
Nevertheless, piracy is not wholly unethical as it might appear on a from a superficial analysis of the issues presented above. Accordingly, piracy is ethical in the sense that it plays a helpful role in increasing the fame of musicians in the industry. It has been argued that it is killing the young talents, but this is not solely true because piracy has been one of the most reliable avenues for the promotion of fame among these musicians and movie stars. For instance, Camacho supports this view with the emphasis that piracy has come with remarkable effects for musicians at an individual level. It has given artists the platform to enjoy fame and popularity in all corners of the globe, as their music and movie get watched by consumers who would have been required to purchase CDs to access this music. Purchasing this music and movie CDs is quite expensive especially because of the initial costs that are incurred in their packaging and transportation to their target markets. In fact, many musicians would not have been known in different parts of the world if their music was to be only sold to consumers. Many might not have the chance to afford the cash to purchase the music hence the need to watch them from the online source. With the increasing fame, musicians and movie stars get the ticket to perform on the international stage through shows and promotions. This gives them an alternative source of income apart from the sale of CDs. Most contemporary musicians have gained much from live performances compared to the sale of CDs to consumers, and this is attributable to the fame gained through piracy. From this individual perspective of musicians and movie stars, piracy does more good than harm by leading to increased popularity and fame.
Additionally, piracy cannot be wholly tagged an unethical practice because it works in the favor of movie companies. Movie companies such as Warner Bros cannot fully claim that piracy has worked to their disadvantage. If piracy was that bad, then they would have collapsed at some point because of the continued fall in their level of profits and performance over time. However, the results have been quite the opposite because these movie companies such as Warner Bros have remained relevant in the industry because of their ability to sell CDs and DVDs in the market. It is important to note that views around the world are always waiting to watch movies for the purposes of having fun. Before a movie is officially released, they get a sneak peek of the movie through the pirated CDs and DVDs. Some of the consumers just decide to sell them online with the view of getting a full understanding of the movies. Once they get an initial view of the movies, they aspire for more quality views and automatically purchase them from the original copies brought into the market by major companies such as Warner Bros. In essence, pirated content only aims at giving consumers of movies the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the movie content before purchasing the original one from movie companies. This is an obvious sign that piracy in fact works in their favor and has been partly responsible for the profits they are enjoying. With this in mind, may be it is a high time movie companies found out other key problems that might be responsible for their dwindling sales instead of blaming it on piracy, which seems to have been benefiting them.
Lastly, piracy is not necessarily unethical as many musicians and companies in the entertainment industry might think because it is only part of the continuously emerging technologies that is expected to give individuals more fun and enjoyment. It is quite difficult to prevent the growing wave of technology across the globe because of the high levels of contribution it has made toward the development of humanity. Currently, the entertainment industry should have been easily adapted to the technological effect by allowing individuals to watch and download music and movies from reliable sites. Restricting piracy is tantamount to restricting technological growth and its use among individuals. In regard to the growth of technology, it must be noted that consumers cannot be supportive of rules that limit their independence to watch the kind of music and movies they like. Some of them end up developing negative attitudes toward musicians who promote the anti-piracy campaigns because it affects their chances of watching their music. However, it must again be affirmed that the harm caused by piracy is not necessarily unethical because it does not violate morally justified property rights. The property rights are stated in the name of the law and not ethical principles, and their breach does not amount to the breach of ethical standards. Therefore, it is important that consumers are giving their space to enjoy the internet and download the kind of music and movies they like. This will in fact increase the consumption rate compared to the instance where they are limited.
In conclusion, it is not easy to determine the ethicality of piracy in the entertainment industry because of the divided opinions and arguments among individuals. The best position to hold in light of this confusion is that piracy is only partly unethical. It has been mostly portrayed in bad light as an unethical practice because of its effect on the profits made by companies. There has been a decline in the level of profitability and this is largely attributed to the skyrocketing levels of piracy. However, the benefits that piracy comes with need to be appreciated especially that associated with the promotion of musicians’ fame and the popularity of movies among consumers. Piracy should not be viewed as the sole contributor to the many problems that entertainment companies are facing at the moment. It should be taken positively as the technological challenge that should be dealt with through continued online trading of music and movies.