Introduction As a result of the recent growth in the use of the Internet and the continued progress of digital technology, the exchange of digital contents between users has been made much easier. However, it has led to current problems in that many cultural industries, such as software, music, and film, face the serious problem of piracy through illegal copying on a global scale. Nowadays, with the widespread availability of pirated software, there are some forms of piracy, such as music piracy, which have also become common global phenomena.
Many previous studies that have considered music piracy have focused on the impact of file sharing on market and music consumption, and these have shown that music piracy has become a major concern and threat to the recording industry. The aim of this research is to investigate the factors that influence Chinese people to engage in music piracy. Most previous studies that have considered music piracy has only been conducted among western people, however, this research is specific in that only Chinese people will be considered here, and it will provide an insight into the attitudes and behavior of this particular group.
It will be of value to investigate to what extent cost, attitudes, legal awareness, morality and other related factors play a role in the music piracy. The statement of the problem 1. Free riding and digital music piracy ‘Music exchanged over the Internet is a pure information product,’ and as such the consumption of these information goods by one does not prevent others from consuming it at the same time.
Denisa Ilascu said, in economic terms, information goods are public, they are non-excludable, compared with physical goods, although many people consider that information should be offered for free and rebuff any limitation to their activity of copying and distributing files over the Internet(Illascu, 2008). It is difficult to exclude other people from enjoying the music while the music is listened to by someone. However when people consume music without paying for it, this is called “free-riding,” and is a problem which may undermine market efficiencies.
Digital music and the MP3 format used for compressing the size of digital music files has made file transformation easier and has helped music sharing activity and encouraged file sharing programs. Consequently, this has resulted in piracy problems that are now having a greater impact on the music industry. Moreover,the rapid development of the Internet has enabled the wider and easier distribution of music over the network. Subsequently, legal online music has appeared because of its easy reproducibility and electronic distribution.
According to BBC news, since the appearance of this online music, it is now no longer necessary to buy CDs or records. People can now simply download the music, store it on any device such as a portable MP3 player, and share it with each other. The MP3 formats are consumer-friendly and can easily be copied and retransmitted on the Internet. However, this ease of reproducibility is a main factor in promoting music piracy. Downloading and swapping music files has become one of the most popular P2P applications around the world(BBC, 2008). 2. The problem of music piracy by Chinese
It is in the countries with greater Internet capacities and higher Internet penetration facilitates where the majority of sharing activities are undertaken. The writer Yasmin Li said, in the case of China, the development of the Internet has grown particularly fast. The number of Internet users in China has increased rapidly and there are now 87 million Chinese that have access to the Internet (Li, 2011). Through the development of the Internet, the use of broadband has also grown significantly in China, and with its increased download speeds has led to a situation in which P2P uploading and downloading services have become more popular.
P2P services are utilized by many Internet users in China, who use it for entertainment, and it has become a fashionable and hot issue among Internet users. Survey data in China reports that many Chinese Internet users are enjoying the advantages of P2P service to download and share MP3 music. Indeed, a survey investigating Internet usage conducted in 2001 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) found that over 54% of respondents had downloaded entertainment files and over 45% of the respondents had downloaded music or enjoyed music online, although 42. % of the respondents in this case were students. Another survey conducted by CASS of teenager Internet users in a few major cities in China provided further evidence that MP3 use and downloading had become extremely popular among users who access fast Internet connections at work. Music piracy in China has long been considered as a serious problem. The music industry has had to endure the fear of piracy and fight an ongoing battle to protect its business and legal rights.
However, according to the magazine “Beijing Daze,” many people in China confirm that the sharing of music files is a common way for them to obtain and listen to music, while many previous studies have indicated that there has been serious piracy of music, movies, and software among Chinese people (Beijing Daze, 2012). Although, China Music Pod said, as has already been shown, file sharing has won the hearts of music fans, and people generally see nothing wrong with their file sharing activity, with a number of studies showing that people view piracy as both socially and ethically acceptable.
Their results showed that 58% of the people admitted to file-sharing, while only 2. 5% of music collections were obtained through payment from fee-based online music services(China Music Pod, 2012). Consequently, the copying of digital music, particularly as an infringement of copyright, may no longer be ignored, and this is the motivation for this research to investigate why free music is so attractive among people and why the copying of music files has also become so rampant among them.
Why music downloading is a copyright violation Music downloading is related to the issue of copyright violation. From the moment a song or music track is first recorded on to a disc or cassette tape, it is under the protection of the copyright, and as such the copying of any video or music track without permission of the copyright owner is unlawful. According to Leena Rao, the illegal download and file sharing of music is one of the most common acts that infringe upon the copyright law on the Internet.
In the case of the copyright law, this gives protection against the unauthorized copying of documents, images, and sounds on the Internet (Rao, 2009); however, the current copyright law is lacking and is ineffective for digital works. This law does not protect digital works satisfactorily, while additionally it is very difficult to enforce the legislation on copying and distribution of any digital work over the Internet, particularly given how difficult it would be to catch and punish every single person who copies and shares music files on the Internet. However, it should be remembered that it is legal to copy a CD hat has been purchased for personal use, but it becomes illegal when the copy is given to some else. In legal terms, this means that any act of copying of authorized content not for personal use is seen as illegal. Conlusion The cost is the major reason for Chinese people to illegally download music. Most Chinese people will buy fewer CDs after starting to illegally download. According to the studies, nearly all the people express that they mostly or only download music and have now stopped buying CDs or else purchase far fewer CDs after starting to file share.
This shows that file sharing has a negative impact on the people’s CD buying behavior. Chinese people are likely to have a high tolerance and acceptable attitudes towards music piracy. Therefore Chinese people’s music piracy behavior is positively associated with their attitudes towards music piracy. According to studies, most of the people were accepting of the fact that fellow around them participate in music file sharing activities and nearly all the people have strong positive attitudes towards piracy.
Most Chinese do not regard free downloading as illegal and do not think that it should be punishable. The major attitudes of acceptance towards downloading and the increased willingness to share music with friends that were revealed in this study confirms that Chinese have a high tolerance towards music piracy. And therefore, we know that it is difficult to prohibit free downloading behavior, we still ought to obey the law, and boycott the music piracy.
BBC Reporter. (2008). ‘Chaos’ of China’s music industry. BBC News.
Beijing Daze. (2012). Song Ke: Why is the Chinese music industry declining? Retrieved from www.lifeweek.com.cn
China Music Pod. (2012). For survival and dignity: Chineses music industry strikes back. Retrieved from www.Chinamusicpod.com
Ilascu, Denisa. (2008). Google offers China an alternative to music piracy.
Li, Yasmin. (2011). Baidu promises to put an end to its music piracy. Retrieved from www.technode.com.
Rao, Leena. (2009). China’s music-piracy clampdown will likely affect Baidu. From www.seekingalpha.com