Proposals 5 Sources – Jesse Samaritano

For my research essay I will be examining the morality of arguments supporting file sharing over the internet of music through peer-to-peer file sharing programs and the financial effects it has on musicians. While those against file sharing argue that it is stealing, a majority of people who support file sharing argue that morally they are not doing anything wrong because they say it is being “shared” to them over the internet even though they are being given possession of something that should cost them money for free. This is a counterintuitive claim by those who support file sharing because they are defending something that is going against their natural intuition that stealing is wrong. Although any musicians and artists, like the band Metallica, are against file sharing say that the idea of sharing was “borrowing things that were not yours without asking,” some people still argue that it is not stealing from the artist. Music can be purchased for a fair price over the internet through sellers such as iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and plenty more online store in which the artists receive up to 65% more revenue per cd sale, but people who are for file sharing still complain that most of the sales of cds go to the record companies. Also, these websites and online stores frequently have deals on albums making them affordable, countering the argument that cd prices are too high. The following resources will help explore the argument that file sharing is a positive and moral system that does not harm artists’ hard work or wallets:

1. 99 Cents per Song: A Fair Price for Digital Music? The Effects of Music Industry Strategies to Raise the Willingness to Pay by P2P Users

Background:  “This article studies the effect of those initiatives on the willingness to pay of a sample of Spanish P2P users. Results show that value-based strategies are the most effective, while legal campaigns come second.” – from abstract of article

How I Intend to Use It: This article will help show statistics on how many people are willing to pay for music over downloading it illegally and recognize that the music industry has made attempts to counter file sharing by making affordable music available to purchase on the internet.

2. P2P, Online File-Sharing, and the Music Industry 

Background: Peer-to-Peer and its relation to online file-sharing has been a matter of great controversy for several years. Intersecting, as it does, the interests of innovators, content owners and consumers it has posed difficult and interesting questions not least those regarding how the interests of some IP owners should affect the development of technology. This brief literature summary does not seek to address these wider questions about how copyright and technology policy can be balanced in the best interests of society, but rather to simply address the basic question of the impact of online file-sharing on sales and welfare. – from Introduction of article

How I Intend to Use It: This article will help in finding a close figure expressing the amount of money the music industry really loses from file sharing. The article shows different findings over different periods of time by a variety of studies to give multiple findings to compare with one another.

3. How Much do Music Artists Earn Online? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Background: This web infographic chart shows how many sales an artist would have to make to earn a month’s worth minimum wage pay through the different market mediums such as CD retail, online music stores, and internet radio. The article also has a link to a chart that shows how much an artist makes on publishing royalties to find out exactly how much an average artist can make.

How I Intend to Use It: I intend to use this article to bring to light just how little artist make through record sales and to show how downloading an artist’s music for free can really effect their revenue.


Background: With the public discourse around filesharing veering towards punitive extremes, our aim in this essay is to reframe the issue in two ways. First, we argue that the filesharing debates are ‘too economic’, insofar as they reduce a multi-faceted phenomenon to a single issue: financial loss resulting from the theft of intellectual property. Lost in such arguments is the fact that music routinely circulates through the culture in myriad ways that have little (if anything) to do with commerce and capitalism, and everything to do with affect and affiliation. Second, the filesharing debates are simultaneously ‘not economic enough’, insofar as they evade the financial complexities of the music business in favor of an overly simplistic equation:‘downloaded music’ leads directly to ‘lost sales revenues’. A more robust analysis of the music industry’s standard economic practices, however, undercuts both its economic claims about the negative effects of filesharing on sales and its moral claims to be defending helpless musicians from downloading ‘thieves’. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

How I Intend to Use It: I intend to use this essay to have an alternative source to check facts with other sources and vice versa. Upon further reading of all my sources, I will be able to differentiate claims that may be false with claims that match up with other sources.

5. The Moral Argument In Favor Of File Sharing?

Background: This article shows certain opinions from people who are for file sharing and for those who are against file sharing. The article gives examples of their moral beliefs on the subject and why it is or is not acceptable to use file sharing.

How I Intend to Use It: I intend to use this article to find the argument that defends the morality of file sharing. The article also offers comments from other people who have read the article and have their own input on the subject, so I will be able to look through other peoples opinions.

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4 Responses to Proposals 5 Sources – Jesse Samaritano

  1. Would you please leave me some feedback on my thesis statement?

  2. davidbdale says:

    Sure thing, Jesse.

    First of all, let me say that for the most part you say things very clearly. If that sounds like a very mild compliment, explore a bit the comments I’ve made on your classmates’ posts where I am forever complaining about lack of clarity. So, congratulations. We can spend our time here on something else.

    But first. When you say you’ll be “examining the morality of arguments” supporting file sharing and the “financial effects its has” on musicians, you could be saying much more. You plan to do more than examine the arguments, I gather; you mean to refute the arguments that file sharing is moral. And you certainly don’t think file sharing benefits musicians, do you? So you’ll be examining or perhaps demonstrating how very much it costs them. I’m sure you understand, Jesse. Make your sentences mean as much as you can.

    This topic is not as obvious as it appears at first, as I hope you’ll discover. I have no more sympathy for the relentless downloaders who take whatever they can get without acknowledging that someone (someone they purportedly admire and should want to compensate) is out of pocket when they do. But they do have arguments, don’t they? There’s a difference between a musical composition and a bushel of corn that requires a very different legal treatment. The corn can be shared but gets consumed in the process. Sharing has a limit, and anyway somebody buys the whole bushel.

    When music was on discs, I could borrow a CD from my brother without feeling like a criminal. I could also borrow one from the library without myself or the library ever running afoul of the copyright laws. Library lending is considered “fair use,” I think. You’ll have to look that up and bring the legal specifics into your research.

    But when I upload mp3 versions of every song on an album, and anyone with an internet connection can “borrow” it from me and even “relend” it to millions the same way, we’ve entered territory not anticipated by the crafters of copyright law generations ago. To what extent have legal protections for the intellectual property of artists kept up? That’s for you to tell us.

    Technically, you don’t need to prove the damages to the artists to make your moral point. Whether it costs the artist a penny or not, the music’s not yours and you’re taking it. Or maybe that’s refutable. Think about it. But if you’re trying to recommend a practical solution, then you’ll need to propose a method for getting artists fairly paid for their property.

    Of course, the argument by downloaders that most of the money goes to the publishers is purely self-serving and ridiculous. They might as well say, “Record companies already screw the bands we love; why shouldn’t we?” You don’t need to waste any time on their complaint that prices are too high. 99 cents is apparently too high for them, even if most of it goes to self-published artists. Or am I wrong? Do downloaders distinguish and make fair payments to bands who release their own material directly?

    Your first source sounds good, but is vague in two ways. First, it doesn’t identify what the campaign descriptions mean, even a little. Second, how many people are willing to pay sounds successful but leaves open the possibility that the answer is nobody. Or that value-based strategies had a 2% success rate, legal campaigns 1%.

    Source 2. Your explanation is more helpful than the background, Jesse. Apply your own writing skills to the background to tell us the actual content of the source, not what it isn’t about, which the current summary provides.

    Source 3. Again, your intent paragraph is much more useful, if only for the little phrase “just how little artists make.” By “effect their revenue” do you mean, cost them millions, deprive them of most of their income, devastate their earnings? Anything that indicates the “effect” is negative will help. Which is the trouble with the background too: it doesn’t even hint that the numbers are disturbing, or that the artist’s income is tiny compared to the work performed or the value of the product. See what I mean?

    I’ll stop picking at that same point, Jesse. You can apply the principles to the rest. Watch out for punctuation around quotations. You make two error types in Source 4. See Rules 7 and 11 in Grammar Basics (always available from the sidebar). Or have you imported someone else’s punctuation as direct quotation? If so, you need to fix it or make it clear it’s, for example, British in origin. Elsewhere, you’ve made a Rule 9 error as well.

    Source 4 is a firecracker. I love its wide-awake willingness to look skeptically at all the common “knowledge” on the subject. Try hard not to depend on it for everything. You want to do you own work, not just agree with everything one of your sources has to say.

    Source 5 sounds valuable in the abstract, but it also sounds as if you haven’t read it yet. Do so soon.

    Helpful, Jesse? More than you wanted? Get back to me, please.

  3. Thank you for the feedback. It will definitely prove helpful for my white paper which I am about to start. My only question is it too late or do I need to fix and re-post this original post? If it will help my grade I will be glad to do it, but I would rather just apply your feedback into my future work for this project instead of rewriting facts that I don’t need to write that are only meant to help that future work.

    • davidbdale says:

      No, you don’t need to rewrite this, Jesse. Put your effort into the White Paper and, as you suggest, apply any feedback you get from me to your future work. This is not primarily a rewriting course. If you have time, while keeping up with current assignments, to go back and improve earlier work, I’ll certainly read your revisions, but mostly I want the next post to be better than the previous.

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