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Arturo Rios
Sharing is Caring.
Ethics behind P2P file sharing copyrighted material.


Hello my name is Arturo Rios and I am a student attending CSUMB. This is my third
year of attending to CSUMB and I am Junior. Communication Design is my major with an
emphasis in Graphic Design. I am currently enrolled in CST 373 Ethics in Current Issues in
Communication Science and Technology, which is a required course to obtain my major.
Interests or hobbies that I have are: basketball, music, movies, and video games.

Anyways, I choose this topic because its everywhere around me and I know a few
friends who keep on downloading movies and music illegally without knowing the
consequences. They believe this is not a big deal since everyone does it around them and nothing
has happened. So I believe this issue is worth studying because I can help my friends change
their minds or at least advise them the serious consequences and what it could happen so they
can be warned.

Within these pages I will discover the ethical issues relating to P2P sharing programs and
why it has become an issue regarding copyrighted materials. Even though, the society has
fulfilled the usage of these sites to distribute software and music without the consent of the
industry. This method is illegal and the distribution itself is not only hurting the industry by the
distribution of their products without any value and profits for the industry but also hurting the

While temporarily file sharing programs have been shut down due to the piracy behind
this issue, newer programs will be created to promote and keep the industry going. Napster being
one of the pioneers that started databases for file sharing programs, later changed from being a
peer-to-peer file sharing internet service due to piracy issues relating the music industry.

However, educational purposes have been filed under this issue stating that many of the
software that is being used within the school grounds have been duplicated and installed in all of
the computers. This not only has given the copyrighted issue another key point to look out but
also it will lead to new concerns regarding the software being used in school.

P2P file sharing began in the early 1999 with Napster, this software that shared files
between people that were linked from a central server. This central server made it easier for
people to download mainly music files and swap these files between other users. However, this
software was initially started for the exchange of Fanning and friends own recordings. This
software changed the cultural perspective of society in a way that it made a shortcut to music
piracy. But within this shortcut many events have preceded may include; the introduction of
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copyright-infringement lawsuits. What Napster gave the world was frictionless and a convenient
way to get content.

Key players that were and are important within the issue of P2P sharing and illegal
distribution: Napster, KaZaa, and BitTorrent. Napster being the first generation of P2P software
started with the purpose of sharing files between peers. However, the users are also key players
within this issue, while using these kinds of software users are not only stealing copyrighted
material but also sharing this fie to others. This is the case of BItTorrent, which is software that
makes distribution of files easy. Files that have been shared through BitTorrent have been;
Music, computer softwares, and OS. But softwares such as BitTorrent can be used for other
purposes rather than just illegal software or file distribution.
Attitudes that were changed from the initiation of P2P sharing software have been that some
users are more cautious to what to share within these softwares.

Being one of the pioneers of P2P file sharing software, Napster has done a dramatic change,
changing its behavior from being a file sharing software an online music store. The reason for
the change was that many music corporations would file lawsuits against Napster, stating that the
files being shared were being stolen from the music industry.

With the evolution of file sharing software, iTunes made the dramatic appearance to the
public, introducing a new way to acquire files without violating any copyrighted-infringement
laws. One of the laws that the United States government established has been the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). This law that was implemented in 1998 also fulfills two
world 1996 world treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The rule
over this act is to criminalize the act of circumventing an access control, whether or not there is
actual infringement of copyright itself. One of the directives that has been passed within the
European Nation was the Copyright Directive which was introduced to the European Nation on
May 22, 2001. However, the same issues introduced under this directive are seen and respected
from the Copyright Act.

Media News:
The whole Peer-to-Peer topic was covered widely by many local and national news
agencies. This issue is still being mentioned today on various agencies regarding BitTorrents
and how many industries some which include the film industry was sending warrants to users
who would download illegal copies of their films.

A recent research found out that between 8th January 2010 and 21st January 2011, a total
of 99,924 individuals have been sued. The majority users that were sued allegedly said that used
BitTorrent to share copyrighted works, however, few hundred educational users were also
included within this sue. In 2010 the co-founder of Pirate Bay, Gottfrid Svantholm was sued for
1.1 million and one year in prison, this issue has brought the attention of the Supreme and will
oversee this case. The Supreme Court will give the last veridict to Svantholm and two others
involved with Pirate Bay.
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The way that this issue is being told by different news agencies is very humane in a way
that the language used is neutral and very detailed when it comes to the rights of the
copyrighted company. But they also show examples on how BitTorrent and other peer-to-
peer programs help sharing educational services. However, CNN has given the idea that
illegal downloading as well as file sharing is under BitTorrents fault. CNN stated that
the free software program lets users swap and download large media files. Its got plenty
of legitimate uses online but is also heavily used to illegally trade movies, TV shows and
other copyright-protected content. BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker said that his company
merely provides the software, and it can't control what its customers do.

Other Views:
Within this issue there has been many sides arguing whether P2P file sharing is illegal or
not, within the articles that were researched and that has been covered on news agencies and
blogs relate to the music industry suing many Bit Torrent users for misconduct and illegal
distribution of music. However, BitTorrent users have not been the only ones in the eye of
piracy. Services like Napster, Kazaa and Audio Galaxy that started out by swapping songs with
other people online. Unfortunately the music industry saw this act as a threat and started suing
people. In 2004 CNN reported that the Recording Industry Association of America sued a 12
year old Brianna LaHara to pay $2,000, or about $2 per song she had shared. Within her
understanding she stated I am sorry for what I have done I love music and dont want to hurt
the artists I love.

Besides the media this issue as brought the attention of TorrentFreak.com, which is an
online blog that is dedicated specifically to inform the users of file-sharing programs behind the
issues around these programs. Within this community there have been articles that users of
BitTorrent have been sued for illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, just last year more
than 200,000 people were sued and some which were even convicted.

From the publishers view regarding this issue, one of the book publishers has become
part of the list suing BitTorrent users. John Wiley and Sons, publishers of For Dummies books
have become part of this suing list, with a total of 27 lawsuits against BitTorrent
users. Their allegations were that through the massive piracy that occurs on BitTorrent, their
company is suffering severe losses that might cost several authors their jobs.

Another case in which a famous Hollywood movie studios as sued the file-hosting
service Hotfile for several copyright-related offenses, however, Hotfile, is fighting back and has
filed a counterclaim accusing the movie studio Warner Bros, for taking down files without
holding copyrights, game demos and even open source software.

Within the music industry many Artists have agreed that P2P lawsuits are not the answer
to these accusations. Many of which have stated that P2P file sharing softwares is not actually
hurting them and that the RIAA lawsuits are doing anything to help the situation. Within this
case which was an article on the Washington Post in 2004 states that artists and musicians are
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more likely to say that the internet has made it possible for them to make more money from their
art than they are to say it has made it harder to protect their work from piracy or unlawful use
two-thirds of artists say peer-to-peer file sharing poses a minor threat or no threat at all to them."
In 2006 EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) reported that there has been 8,000 P2P Users sued
in 17 Countries by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IPFI), which
represents the record labels around the world, within this report it stated that over 31,000
lawsuits have been files worldwide against P2P users which include 18,000 in the U.S.
Nov 4, 2011- BPI and MPA Demand UK Pirate Bay Blockade- Pirate Bay can be blocked via
voluntarily or by a court order, the worlds most resilient torrent site. This site has been
blocked by ISPs in Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Denmark and Belgium, however the BPI and a major
Hollywood studios, as approached all measurements to completely block and put Pirate Bay out
of Business. Unlike legal music download sites, it exposes consumers to the risk of viruses,
theft of personal information and inappropriate content. We would not tolerate Counterfeits
RUs on the High Street- if we want economic growth, we cannot accept illegal rip-off sites on
the internet either. We hope that BT will do the right thing and block the Pirate Bay.

When it comes to campuses one of the institutes that started a policy with the IT
department has been Ohio University which on 2007 restricted all P2P file sharing
software. However, within this department have stated that it doesnt get close to a long-term
solution to deal with file sharing,it wont stop piracy, as students will simply migrate towards
other readily-accessible sharing tools, and it doesnt put any more money in artists pockets.
On November 9, 2011 EFF reported that the RIAA has sent schools a P2P heads up. Within this
heads up the RIAA has launched a campaign against file offering college and university students
a chance to settle before they get sued.

Ethical Perspectives:
Corporate- is the association and involvement of corporations to form bigger and
somewhat legal corporations. Separation of legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are
distinct from those of its members.

Looking at the P2P file sharing community as a whole corporation with their own privileges and
liabilities or a never ending process people could say that these software companies are working
together to form a process and a corporation. In example having Napster shut down as a file
sharing software, their came all the other softwares under the Napster lead. Within these
companies or softwares that have been created to continue the Napster process have been
Limewire, BitTorrent, UTorrent, Kazaa, and others.


Commercialism- Is the practices, methods, aims, and spirit of commerce or business. However,
in other meanings it is primarily referred to as the tendency within open-market capitalism to
turn everything into objects, images, and services sold for the purpose of generating profits.
Within the P2P file sharing issue many could find that users have the tendency to modify the
files gathered from these softwares into a form of commercialism. However, the industries that
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revolve around these communities and that are involved within the various ethical issues
regarding users and their use of copyrighted material have been a form of commercialism. In
other words the industries that have sued users for illegal use of copyrighted material are
implying a form of monetary interest.


Christianity Christianity the teachings and practices of Jesus Christ, through the teachings and
services that are given some include the noble and good aspects of life. Within the teachings of
Christianity there is also the strong believer of morality, right and wrong. The Ten
Commandments are biblical principles in which Christianity is based on. Within the Ten
Commandments, commandment 8 which states Thou shall not steal which could be interpreted
as kidnapping and material property.
Going back to the eight commandment and taking my point of view on this issue it relates to P2P
file sharing in a way that many P2P software users are using this softwares to distribute and
steal legal material without giving profits to the music industry.


Future Challenges:
The Pirate Bay one of the leading torrent sharing service will be shut down in the next
five years, this torrent site has been getting allegations and accusations for promoting other
peoples infringements of copyright laws. Within the operation of the Pirate Bay its revenues
come directly from advertising revenues in a way that exploits copyright-protected work and
performances. However, this site has given the users new ways to share files with the integration
of ISOhung, TorrentSpy, and other BitTorrent tracking sites. The Pirate Bay will also introduce
a new concept of IPREDator, which changes the users IP-number to an anonymous IP-number.
This new form of anonymity will give the users the torrent privacy that they need. Also it will
change the protocol of its system making it a better way for usage for the user.

When it comes to the music industry the revenues and sales will decrease, however the
IFPI and the RIAA will continue the way form of getting free music with paid ads taking in
consideration that the minute that a song is played will pay royalties to the artist. However,
within a few years the rate of shared music files has slowed down in comparison to the TV file
sharing has risen in a dramatic move.

The future of file sharing programs in the next 10 years will be seen as a dramatic
increase of softwares that will be a bigger problem for the RIAA. This being a problem to the
RIAA in a way that when one of the file sharing site is brought down by the RIAA another
software will emerge as long as they control the distribution of product and the technology
behind the distribution, not taking in considerations the many lawsuits that users are
getting. However, one of the problems that the file sharing community will encounter is when
the government will take control of the industry adding a form of tax on items such as blank
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CDs or monthly Internet Service Provider fees, and this money is earmarked as compensation
for artists and media companies.

My Reflections:
During my investigations my attitude did change towards the many lawsuits that are
being sent to users, on the fact that the FCC and RIAA are sending lawsuits to users who are
using this service which is entitled to be free to the public. Instead of sending the lawsuits to
users and shutting down their ISP service the FCC and RIAA should implement some sort of
service that will charge the users for utilizing P2P file sharing services, however, if the FCC or
the RIAA do implement this service some new P2P file sharing software will be introduce
without charging fees of some sort.

For future recommendations and changes socially, I would recommend that users try to
use some sort of service within the P2P software that will allow them to create random IP
addresses, by doing so users will not be tracked. As for the entertainment industry they should
implement a new way that will allow users to watch and download files without being charged,
however, every time that a user goes into that site the industry gets profits.