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Even though, the internet has served as good media to promote music industry and the writing art, it has threatened further growth of the two arts (Buchan, 2010). Currently, internet users can freely download music and books from the internet freely and without the consent of the owners of the materials. Even though, the international community has made a lot of efforts to take care of the intellectual property shared over the internet, several web developers have come up with websites that allow free download and sharing of music and books without having the legal consent to do so. For instance, Google, Waptrick, YouTube, and many other websites do not have copyright consideration to materials shared over the sites. Almost all internet users have made use of this loophole to make illegal downloading and sharing of literature, music, movies, and other artistic materials (The Congress, 2010).
The copyright protection law, which has been accepted internationally, makes it illegal to download any material from the internet free of charge. This implies that internet users should be charged for downloading materials from the internet or internet users should have the consent of the owner of the material before downloading the material. In effect to this, it is illegal for any person to share materials downloaded from the internet (Shalin, 2012). Therefore, downloading music or any other artistic material from a friend’s website is illegal. Free download of materials breaks several local and international laws that govern the conduct of internet users. For instance, the USA Congress enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is very strict against sharing materials over the internet. It also declares copying of copyright protected music and other artistic materials illegal (The Congress, 2010). This act protects owners copyrighted materials from illegal reproduction and distribution artistic materials such as music and other digital performances. This act demands that people should purchase the original compact disk for their individual use only. Uploading a legally acquired CD is a breach of the law. The Canadian Copyright Bill (C-61), which was enacted in 2008 also, illegalizes illegal sharing of materials over the internet. This Act illegalizes circumventing digital materials and fines $20000 for illegal download of music and digital materials.
Just as, pointed out in the introduction, YouTube is one of the sites that have promoted piracy over the internet. One of the policies that YouTube uses is that any person who creates and posts any digital material over the site has legal rights to do so (Shalin, 2012). This is misleading policies and one of the key areas that internet users have used as a disclaimer against copyright threats. To use YouTube users need to have an account with the website. When creating an account with the website, security issues such as copyright issues are not taken into consideration. For instance, opening a YouTube account is similar to opening a Facebook account since, in both cases, copyright issues are not considered. Nevertheless, there are YouTube users who have accounts that can download specific copyrighted digital materials (The Congress, 2010). However, these users are not strict with their accounts and end up giving other unauthorized users access to those accounts. In the process, people end up downloading music and video free of charge. Additionally, materials downloaded via YouTube can be shared freely over the internet or secondary storage devices such as memory cards, CDs, and memory cards. In the long-run, the original owners of the illegally shared music or video end up losing a lot of revenue. Illegal sharing of materials has led to the downfall of some artists who could have performed well if their materials were well protected.
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Ethical issues in sharing of copyrighted materials have not been very clear as far as restriction is concerned. Even though, it declares it illegally to download internet digital materials freely, little has been one to ensure that this law is respected to the later (Shalin, 2012). Nations have some up with laws that deem it illegal to download digital materials that have been copyright protected. In addition, the laws prohibit those who legally own the original copies of these materials to share them with friends. Indeed, these laws are very important since it is the only tool that owners of the artistic materials can use to ensure that they reap from what they sow. However, little has been done to ensure that the law is fully in operation. For instance, several websites that have encouraged piracy and illegal download of copyrighted materials yet most government have done virtually nothing to stop these sites. Peer-to-peer (P2P) websites are on the lead to promote piracy over the internet. In addition, the P2P websites have gone beyond promoting piracy to disclosing intellectual property. This breach of the law has exposed many people to the danger of losing millions of money. The original owners of the copyrighted material fail to realize the income they anticipated from their artistic material because it has been downloaded freely over the internet (The Congress, 2010).
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In essence, the Obama government took a very important step in coming up with the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) in 2010 (The Congress, 2010). This Act amended the 13th chapter of Title 18 of the United States Code. COICA authorizes the Attorney General to forward and in rem petition against domain names found to infringe copyright acts and other laws governing privacy and piracy on the internet. COICA gives a clear definition of all conditions that might lead to infringement of the act. Upon presenting the action, the infringement domain registrar or any other concerned authority suspend the operation of the domain or close the domain completely. This bill has been supported many organizations such as the U.S. chamber of Commerce, Motion Picture Association of America, and the Artistic and Allied Crafts of the United States. COICA has helped check on some misconduct over the internet. Some counterfeit websites that have been promoting piracy have ended up being blacklisted and closed up completely. No, wonder the music and entertainment industry in the USA is performing very well. Although COICA has faced several oppositions from citizens including petitions on the court to nullify the act, the government should stand strongly in support of the act. It should be noted that those who have been aggrieved by this law are the same people who have enjoyed the fruits of piracy for many years (Segal, 2010).
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However, there are many websites developers who should be praised for ensuring that they observe the copyright rules to the later. Many website developers have come up with websites that ensure that copyrights are respected and protected. In some websites, downloading digital materials or any artistic material is illegal and not possible. In addition, distributing or sharing materials over these websites is not legal. Leading on this list is the Open Source Software (OSS) (Buchan, 2010). OSS is software with the source code, which is licensed and made available with an open-source license where the holder of the copyright issues the right to study, alter, or distribute the software. In developing OSS, the public is always collaborated. Examples of OSS materials include Apache HTTP Server, osCommerce, Mozilla Firefox, GNU/Linux operating systems, Android derivative application software, and voice over IP applications. OSS application software are unknown to many because of their strictness in matters concerning privacy and piracy (Shalin, 2012).
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