Most music consumed today comes in digital form; 1s and 0s have triumphed over physical grooves in a piece of record to become the preferred method of distribution of music. It is typically cut into CDs and sold in albums (the older style), or retailed in online stores (the newer style). As the music comes in portable data files that can be transferred without damage to the data, the music can be easily copied from media to media.
Music can be created by individual artistes or groups of artistes. Those cutting an album with a record label will typically get a cut of the album sales as royalties. The support team for the album production (e.g., those in charge of sound mixing or cover art) are remunerated through their monthly paycheck.Back to top
How does infringement take place?
Photograph of pirated CDs street vendor, Pirated music CDs are still popular in some countries, mainly those without proper anti-piracy enforcement from the authorities.
[Picture credit: Han Kern Koay. Licensed under CC by-nc-sa 2.5]
Commercial music is commonly downloaded from the Internet because of the convenience of doing so. Apple takes advantage of this by operating the iTunes online portal for people to download music legitimately. Commercial music, along with music meant to be free, is readily shared through peer-to-peer networks, such as KaZaA.
Downloading free music through peer-to-peer networks would not constitute copyright infringement as free music has been released either into the public domain or with some form of license that allows free distribution. However, copyright infringement would occur when commercial music is downloaded through peer-to-peer networks. Music consumers from the United States who downloaded copyrighted music through peer-to-peer networks have faced lawsuits.
With the increasing popularity of MP3 players, which are portable gadgets for the playing of digital music, more people are now downloading copyrighted music from the Internet to store on their MP3 players.
The legacy of pirated music CDs hasn’t ceased in some places, however—these places are mainly the ones without adequate enforcement of anti-piracy laws. Such CDs are still popular in Brazil, India and Russia, for example.Back to top
One in three music discs sold is illegal, says IFPI
Photograph of music CDs, One in three music discs sold is an illegal copy.
[Picture credit: Garrettc from flickr. Licensed under CC by-nc-sa 2.0]
1.6 billion music files are swapped online each year in Canada, presumably mostly commercial music. (Commercial music is many times more common on peer-to-peer networks as compared to free music at the moment.) The country is “now cited by the OECD as having the largest online piracy rate per capita in the world”.
Additionally, industrial leader IFPI says that around the world, out of three music discs sold, one is an illegal copy. In Paraguay, where the music piracy rate is among the highest in the world, the rate of music piracy is 99%. As of 2005, sales of pirated copies of CDs exceeded sales of legitimate copies in 30 countries.