Pirating music: guilty as charged

Pirating music and other media has grown with easy access to streaming apps in the rising culture of music.

The illegal downloading of music alone has increased by 44 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to Digital Music News.

“A lot of people don’t want to spend their money on buying music,” said Madison Weaver, a sophomore studying communication. “They have other things they need to pay for.”

Weaver said illegally downloadable music is very accessible.

Nate Wise, digital content and intellectual property rights specialist for BYU-Idaho, said despite streaming services such as Spotify, people still want music. He said students should be aware of privacy on YouTube services and phone apps.

“YouTube has entered into specific licensing agreements with some of the major record companies that identify them as a service, but not necessarily the uploader,” Wise said. “The uploader has got to look at those terms of use.”

Wise said many uploaders should technically have a synchronizer license before synchronizing video with music.

“Digital piracy was defined as the illegal copying of digital goods, software, digital documents, digital audio (including music and voice) and digital video for any other reason other than to backup without explicit permission from and compensation to the copyright holder,” according to the International Journal of Cyber Criminology.

Wise said some videos get to stay up because of YouTube’s licensing agreements, but this does not shield the uploader if an organization decides to target them for illegal downloading.

“The RIAA asserts that piracy has cost the United States economy over $12 billion in annual output as well as over 70,000 lost jobs,” according to   the Online Piracy website. “The RIAA has also said that “both the volume of music acquired without paying for it and the resulting drop in revenues are staggering.”

Wise said to be aware of phone apps found even in legitimate app stores.

“Some of those apps are using peer-to-peer networks to find and deliver music, so it’s just another way into those illegal services that bypass the right holders,” Wise said.

Wise said it is important to keep right holders in mind, and if something is free, users should check if it’s legally free.

“Music copyright can get complicated,” Wise said.

Wise said that overall, students should pay attention to their inner Liahona,  the  Holy Ghost.

“The complexity of technology makes it sometimes a little murky,” Wise said. “It really is up to us to think about how we are using music — and are we being fair.”

Tyler Barton, student honor administrator, said cases of music or other media pirating are treated like any other case of dishonesty when it comes to Honor Code policy. The consequence is decided after a careful study of  each case.

“We agree to be completely honest in all our dealings, including class assignments and tests. This means we don’t plagiarize material, fabricate or falsify information, or cheat,” according to the Honor Code.

Wise said obeying the law with media has allowed BYU-I as a university to maintain a favorable reputation among other organizations.

Wise said it is also a pattern followed by the Church. Even the meme used by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the most recent general conference showing a dinosaur, representing tomorrow, and two kids running away, was clear before it was displayed.   

Wise said students can take a closer look into the universities’ copyright policy at  byui.edu/copyright.  He said he is also glad to visit with anyone who has questions about copyright laws.

He said that while his position does not allow legal advice, he can help students understand the law.

“If you don’t know the law, it’s hard to make a good decision,” Wise said. “If you’re ignorant, it doesn’t absolve you from it. You’re still guilty.”

'Pirating music: guilty as charged' have 2 comments

  1. May 12, 2016 @ 9:12 am Cameron

    This is a TERRIBLY out of touch article, but I’m not really surprised it was allowed to be published.. Loss of revenue claims made by the RIAA are inflated and grossly inaccurate, after all its in their best interest to do so. It is also in the interest of the RIAA to desperately attempt to cast piracy as the sole cause of decline in music industry revenue. Music sales are declining because of the inherently incompatible nature of the existing business model of the music industry and the adoption of modern technology, as well as other poor decisions. The RIAA at one time considered MP3 players a threat and a violation of content rights, even playing a CD within earshot of someone was considered a violation. In short, the RIAA is a whinny money grubbing cartel that is largely irrelevant in terms of reality.

    Content consumers no longer want to buy CDs nor do they want to buy specific songs from a service such as iTunes. Apple is even considering the abolishment of their current paid music model, favoring streaming(which is downloading by the way…). This is also known as the future. Copying bits is NOT stealing, piracy has fueled the sale of concert tickets and other tangible goods(not digital). Hollywood continues to claim piracy is “ruining them”, but box office records continue to be broken, just look at this year alone. If I found a flashdrive on the ground containing a song and then I copied it to 4 other flash drives, have I stolen all 4 of those songs? If I own a digital song, why cant I sell it or give it away to someone else as I could a CD, do I truly “own” it? How do you even prove you own a digital version of a song if it does not contain DRM and is on an iPod or Smartphone and not associated with a larger company such as Apple? This whole “piracy is ruining industry” argument is well worn out and I’m sad to see it has even been considered for this publication. We should be discussing real issues that impact society, not defend a stubborn greedy industry.


  2. June 5, 2016 @ 11:29 am Bernd

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the problem and found most people will go along with with your site.


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