Overlooking the Thieves of Music

Senior Noah Jones, which is not his real name, sits in the media center, listening to his library of 1,600+ songs on shuffle. How can he afford to buy each and every single one of these songs? According to Jones, he cannot.

“I don’t like paying for things; I’m cheap, kind of poor,” Jones said.

Illegally downloading music is a common practice among high school students, and even more prevalent in recent years than it has been in years past.

“It takes a toll on their profit from their music, but at the same time it’s there, so why not?” Jones said.

In the years since music downloading sites such as Napster were introduced, album sales have decreased 53 percent, according to the Recording Industry Association of America website. A recent survey of Northwood students revealed that 86 out of 100 randomly selected students admitted to illegally downloading items off the Internet.

“I think [illegally downloading music] is morally wrong and I don’t think people should do it,” junior Calvin To said. “It’s the same thing as stealing and it’s a dishonest action.”

While some students may oppose the idea of illegal downloading, some artists actually support the practice.

“I like what’s going on [file sharing] because I feel closer to the fans and the people who appreciate the music,” Colombian star Shakira told Dailymail in 2009. “It’s the democratization of music in a way. And music is a gift. That’s what it should be, a gift.”

However one may feel about illegally downloading music, the consequences are one of the few things that are concrete about the practice. The act of illegally downloading music falls under the Copyright Act of 1976. Under this law, an individual may have to pay $750 to $30,000 per song obtained illegally. These facts often do little to de- ter students from pirating music.

“I don’t really see how they would like find out that I’m [illegally] downloading music,” an anonymous senior said. “When I go on 8tracks and make a playlist and it’s like ‘did you legally acquire all this music?’ I…just check the yes button and change the titles and they wouldn’t know otherwise.”

The general attitude shared among high school students can perhaps be summed up by a comment by an anonymous junior:

“Why would you buy music? It’s free.”

– By Sawyer Davis