Isdownloading music or software from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network,without the permission of the copyright holder, unethical? Why or whynot?
Apeer to peer net is created as two or more computers are linked andshare resources devoid of going through a separate server PC. Theinitial use of these networks in commerce preceded the deployment inthe early 1980’s of free station computers. Over time, peer to peernetwork has been focusing on media sharing and therefore to someextent seen to be associated with software piracy and copyrightviolation. The system has made it possible for music sharing anddownloads from the internet(Vandiver, Bowman, & Vega, 2012).From this context, the download of music and software via this peerto peer network, especially without the sanction and permission fromthe copyright holder, is entirely unethical and violation ofcopyrights.
Thelandscapes of music and software industry have robustly transformed.The acquirement of popular music, movies and software have moved tothe internet platform, and people will on the odd occasion wait forthe release of disks in the markets or legitimately purchase thesoftware from the owners. People have made it a habit of downloadingtheir favorite music and software without the owners` consent, andthis is unethical and disrepute for intellectual property. Thefollowing arguments will be relevant in trying to picture out howimmoral and copyright violation peer- to- peer network sharing hasbecome.
Inthe first place, music and software industry is business and peopleproduce music and software with the aim of selling and earn theirlivelihoods and possibly profits from them. The downloading of theirmusic and software from the internet through this peer to peernetwork reduces their total sales and revenue. Downloading from theweb is, of course, cheaper, but it denies the owner the opportunityto earn from his labor on music and software. It is painful for oneto invest time in producing music, spend money to come up withsoftware but you earn so little from it because someone somewherethrough the help of peer to peer network downloaded your productswithout paying anything. It is so unethical and disrespects forintellectual property.
Also,the act of copying and sharing music and software through the use ofthe peer to peer software copyrighted, going to the extent of copyingfor others and plagiarizing copyrighted content without the owners’consent is in itself unethical. There is no that sense of rationalityand reasonableness for one another. If I may infer to Immanuel Kant’stheory of the supreme principle of morality, people ought to beguided by “Categorical Imperative” which attributes thatrationality is an essential and unconditional belief we shouldforever follow regardless of any ordinary desires or inclinations wemight have to the divergent. With this information, all immoralactions are irrational, and this is what people who download otherpeople’s music and software without their authorization plead tobe. It, therefore, calls that any rational human being should beself-thoughtful and reflect on the other party before going to thepoint of downloading other people’s products without theirpermission.
Moreover,one ought to do to others what he or she could wish to be done to himor her in return and still feel sound. About the utilitarianismtheory from the ethical point of view, it situates the locus ofcorrect and wrong exclusively on the penalty of choosing one act overother measures. It, therefore, moves beyond one’s interests andtakes into account the interests of others. Before one downloading orplagiarizing someone else product from the internet, he ought tothink about the consequences of that action to the owner of the musicor software. He also has to ask himself that if the same act wasdirected to him, how he or she will experience in return. Bentham’sbelief of utility establishes the fundamental responsibility ofenjoyment and soreness in person life. It further approves ordisapproves of a deed by the quantity of pain or delight broughtabout which is the cost of the action therein.
Therefore,before one takes a step of downloading other people’s copyrightedmusic, videos, and software through the peer to peer network withouttheir authorization, he ought to think if the action will cause painor the pleasure to the owner. More importantly, should examine theintensity, duration or the extent of the pain or pleasure he willcause to the other person. That means, in considering actions thataffect numbers of people, account for its length. If the individualfinds that the degree at which his action will cause pain to theother person outweighs that of pleasure, it is ethical and rationalthat he refrains immediately from that action. The downloading ofmusic and software without permission from the copyright owners, infact, brings more harm to the owners than gratification and thereforeit is so unethical.
Furthermore,music and software are to a large degree people’s profession andoccupation where they deploy all their skills and knowledge. We cantherefore strongly affirm that it belongs to the intellectualproperty of which it falls under intellectual property rights. Beforean individual plagiarizes or illegally downloads one`s music orsoftware, he ought to bear in mind the concept of intellectualproperty rights as far as other people’s property is concerned. Intellectual property rights deal with the policy and regulations forenforcing and securing legal rights to invention, designs, inaddition to artistic works. The point here is that majority of thepeople are confident about these intellectual rights and plainlyunderstand how they are prescribed in full package. They, therefore,violate the intellectual rights consciously by downloading otherpeople’s copyrighted music and software, sharing the productswithout the holders’ acquiescence.
Itis, therefore, unethical and an act of disrepute for one to breachone’s intellectual property rights to the ownership and utilizationof his ownership in the name of peer to peer networking. Sharing,copying, and the banning of disks for other people’s music, videos,and software from this context are proven to be unethical anddisregard for people’s intellectual property.
It,therefore, comes to our attention that this act is a totalcontravention of intellectual rights which is brutal and an immoraloffense to be precise, and so it should be intensely discouraged.
Fromthe morality point of view, the downloading of music and softwareusing the peer to peer from the internet is a beach of the web andmedia morals.That deals with the particular ethical values andprinciples of media, including transmit media, film, theater, thearts, print media and the internet(Spinello,2014).It, therefore, implies that, before one accesses the internet andgoes to the extent of downloading music and software from the web, heought to have well read the media and internet laws and not onlyreading them but also implement what is required of them. If at allthey have tread the rules and regulations and then forge ahead anddownload copyrighted music, videos and software without the owner`sconsent, it clearly depicts how immoral and unethical they are.
Inconclusion, we can deduce from the above arguments that thedownloading of music or software from the internet through thepeer-to-peer network without the authorizations of the copyrightholder is entirely unethical and immoral. It suffers more harm to theowner of the music and software both from the financial point ofview, and it is in itself a violation of the intellectual propertyrights, copyrights law and the media and internet ethics. Therefore,interventions should be put in place to curb this catastrophe in theinternet fraternity.
Vandiver,D. M., Bowman, S., & Vega, A. (2012). Music Piracy among collegestudents: an examination of low self-control, techniques ofneutralization, and rational choice. SouthwestJournal of Criminal Justice, 8(2),92-111.
Spinello,R. A. (2014). Intellectual Property: Legal and Moral Challenges ofOnline File Sharing. In Ethicsand Emerging Technologies (pp.300-314). Palgrave Macmillan UK.