Most of us who have been around music for any length of time have heard of the term 'music piracy'. It is the illegal copying, sharing, downloading, or transmission of music, and it’s a huge concern for the music industry. Pirated music can be transmitted, shared or sold physically or online.
Music piracy stunts careers, stifles talent and eats away at the ability of composers and recording artists to continue making the great music that is the soundtrack to our lives. Music piracy also takes bread off the tables of the thousands of people who work in music-related fields - from authors and composers of musical works, recording artists, to record company employees, studio producers, sound engineers and music retailers.
Online piracy is the newest enemy in the battle to preserve copyright protection. There are different types of sharing and downloading music online. Peer-to-peer (“P2P”) file sharing networks operate when Internet users download the network’s file sharing programme to their computers. Users can then search for, download, and share music, digitised in an MP3 format, on the hard drives of other people who have downloaded the same file sharing programme. When a user selects which song he wishes to download, the P2P file sharing networks make a connection between his computer and the hard drive of someone else on the network that has the song. Users with the same file sharing programme can share songs when both have Internet connections. The music file is then transferred directly from computer to computer. In most instances, users access music without paying for the song, a violation of copyright.
It is strange that millions of people who wouldn’t dream of shoplifting a book, album or DVD, don’t think twice about downloading music illegally from the internet, or copying and sharing music, or buying pirated CDs, DVDs, etc. This is partly because many people view music piracy as a ‘victimless’ crime, and because some people just don’t realise the impact music piracy has on composers, artists and record companies. They are not aware of the laws surrounding music piracy, and they have no idea of the devastating, far-reaching effect their actions have on the hard-working people in the music industry.
That’s why POSA and SAMRO have, since 2013, been educating the public on the dangers of music piracy. Continued emphasis has been placed on education and consumer awareness to overcome the perception that music piracy is not un-ethical. Reducing music piracy requires a fundamental shift in the public’s attitude toward this practice, and public education is a critical component of any successful effort.
POSA and SAMRO have produced booklets that deal with the value of copyright and the dangers of music piracy. Tens of thousands of these booklets have been printed, in all eleven official languages, and have been distributed in artists’ workshops, schools, universities, places of worship, conferences, music shows, taxi ranks, gyms, and events such as 702 Walk the Talk.
Please download (legally and for free) and read these booklets. Please join us in the fight against music piracy:
- Click here to view and/or download SAMRO’s anti-piracy booklet.
POSA/SAMRO stand at 702 Walk the Talk, July 2016