File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programsmultimedia (audio, images and video), documents or electronic books.

Without examining the definition too much, it seems that the act of sharing files is harmless since its just simply sharing any electronic data. I think the idea of file sharing is a genius thing since we use the Internet in every other way possible so why not care to share when being online. Forms of file sharing have been around since the late 70s which means that we have advanced in a lot of ways since then. But I think the only downfall for file sharing nowadays would be that the idea that we typically share or receive things that have been paid for. So if this has been around for over 40 years, is there ups and downs with file sharing?

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Back when I was in grade school I started to get into electronics and gained an interest in what they could all do. Since that was about 8 years ago, a lot has obviously changed. But being on the topic of file sharing, the first form of file sharing I have experience was the time of burning CDs. Before iPods and other MP3 players, the only way I could listen to music was with CDs. Therefore the more music I got into the more CDs I needed to own which was hard to organized. I know that putting files on a CD isn’t really considered file sharing, but it was one of the first physical ways of sharing files that I personally can remember. So I think back to when ever I started burning CDs for friends, or even receiving burnt CDs, if what I was doing was technically wrong. Since exchanging CDs in order to burn them technically means getting an artists music for free, I guess that can technically relate that to how people download music files without having to pay. Personally being a grade school kid only with the intention of burning only a few CDs here and there for friends, I begin to think how many “grade school kids” there were like me.

According to RIAA, “Global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes.” If we break this down to what file sharing actually does, this statement starts to make more sense. When an artist creates an original song and is hoping to generate a revenue, we don’t support the artist finically when we illegal download it. So when the artist doesn’t receive any revenue from either album or single sales, it starts this cause and effect concept that results into hurting a lot more people then intended. As I said in the paragraph before, as a grade school kid that was technically “sharing files” from burning CDs, this was never that big of an issue then. I think that is what everyone’s intention is when it comes to file sharing. I would like to believe that people nowadays don’t go out of their way to illegal download or share files such as music and movies with the intention to hurt the record labels, businesses, etc.

Honestly I don’t know why people put files on these torrent sites for others to download or how they benefit from file sharing. All I know is that is that file sharing has become a bigger deal than ever since the music industry has been struggling financially. But unfortunately, I don’t think anybody who is partaking in file sharing will change what they are doing. But for how advanced technology has become, I would like to think that there is someone somehow the “file sharing police” can monitor us. One of the interesting articles I have found that deals with monitoring file sharing is Gawkers article on what U.S. Copyright Alert System actually does. Even if this article is false, it still is interesting to think of how people monitor this vast spread of illegal file sharing. And for reasons like this is why I don’t bother messing with torrents or trying to find unsafe ways to download files online.

Below is a video on the 2007 case involving Jesse Hirsh’s actions in regards to file sharing. This interview covers the opinions, culture, torrents, and peer to peer media networks on file sharing.

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