Resolved: (1)File sharing encourages artistic creativity, allows new artists more access to consumers, and should be encouraged. (2) Copyright protection provides too much protection for corporations and artists, and should be amended so as to provide more access for consumers and the general public.
File sharing has grown in popularity with the spread of high-speed internet connections. Though legal per se, file sharing is most often used to share copyrighted materials such as music and movies. Recently, some record companies and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have initiated lawsuits against individuals, as their efforts to pursue the file sharing networks have largely proved unsuccessful. Record companies have argued that the advent of file sharing has hurt their profits and, by extension, the artists themselves. However this claim is up for debate. Others argue that file sharing actually enhances revenue for artists, and gives consumers a greater degree of choice. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a non-profit lobbying group which has urged the RIAA to end its lawsuits against ordinary consumers. The EFF argues the suits generate income for the attorneys involved in the litigation, but do not pass any money on to the artists themselves.
To inform our discussion, have a look at the following materials:
- The Betamax Decision, Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc. 464 U.S. 417 (1984)
- MGM v. Grokster 545 U.S. 913 (2005).
- The 2001 EU Copyright Directive, which prohibits peer-to-peer file sharing.
- Wikipedia's explanation of peer-to-peer and file sharing.