The topic of this research essay is Music CD piracy. Piracy is generally used to describe the deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale. Music CD piracy is a global problem and not only many record companies found out that piracy is seriously cutting their profit, government is one of the victims of piracy. The main objective of this research essay is to investigate whether the current laws on CD piracy should be reinforced in order to inhibit the overflowing of pirated CD. Should current laws on CD piracy be reinforced? This whole investigation is limited only to adult and youngsters CD buyers. To conduct this essay, a lot of library research is done. The methods applied in this essay were resources and references from the Internet.
Moreover, with the help of conferences with the lecturer and discussion with last semester students, a more sufficient research essay is smoothly accomplished. Based on opposing views, there are many consumers complaining that original CD is too expensive. Therefore, current laws on CD piracy should not be strictly reinforced. Conversely, reinforcement should be done as CD piracy is against copyright. Besides, the overflowing of pirated CD will decrease the sales of original CD and it may cause shrivelling of music industry. Furthermore, because of CD piracy, artists may not get maximum rewards and government will lose a million of tax revenue.
Due to the low-price and convenience of purchasing pirated CD, CD piracy has a current social problem. Therefore, this paper strongly believes that everyone has at least purchased pirated CD once. CD piracy is a wrongdoing against artists’ and composers’ right, which is best known as intellectual property right. Every composed artistic product is protected by regulation. Meaning to say that manufacturing even buying pirated CD is illegal and it will be resulted in legal penalty. However, the CD piracy is not longer a brand new issue in Malaysia. In fact, the advancement of CD burning technology has caused CD piracy become more serious than before. Nowadays, CD burning technology is affordable for every household.
Academically, CD piracy is defined as a crime by law as well as categorised as a form of stealing (Pattie, n.d). In fact, CD piracy is not stealing other’s tangible goods; it steals human’s brainpower. Although some laws and regulation have been enacted to get to the bottom of this problem, sadly, this problem is still not worked out properly. Oppositely, it tends to become more and more sober. The pirated CD is still mushrooming in the market and causes the decline of original CD. Someone might perceive this issue as inconsequential and unrelated to oneself. However, this paper will reveal the truth behind this issue and discover the possible negative effects CD piracy could bring to everyone.
Apart from that, a lot of researches were done in the previous time, such as interviewing those, who are interested in buying pirated CD even pirating CD by themselves, reading the latest news, which is related to this topic and so on. Nowadays, many people, included me already have their own CD burning software due to the accessing of advanced technology. However, due to the social responsibility that has to be carried by us, this problem has to be looked seriously and solved perfectly.
Nowadays, the CD piracy issue is being discussed widely within Malaysian society. Recently, pirated CD can be easily found in many shopping centres and night markets in Malaysia. However, making or purchasing pirated CD is against intellectual property rights along with any form of pirating, replicating or manufacturing an authorised CD without any permission will be considered as illegal. Most of the people formerly have bought at least one pirated CD, because they are cheaper than original CD and can be bought in everywhere. However, they are really bringing a big blow and worst hit towards Malaysian music industry, even in international music industry the overflowing of pirated CD has decreased the sales of original CD, it has made a lot of loses for music industry. Thus, public is expected to be clearer about the importance of intellectual property rights and be more respectful to the product that composed by others. Besides, public should take action to stop purchase pirated CD, and show them the possible effects that will be brought by the overflowing of pirated CD.
Below are the key terms that used in this research essay.
1. Copyright – “Means by which a person or a business makes a living from creativity. Copyright springs from a simple notion: the people that create, produce or invest in creative work should be the ones that decide how that work should be reproduced and made available to the public” (What is copyright, n.d).
2. Piracy – “Generally used to describe the deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale” (What is piracy, n.d).
3. Counterfeits – Duplicates the copied and packages from the original as similar as possible. The original producer’s trademarks and logos are reproduced in order to deceive the consumer into believing that they are buying an original product.
4. Organized crime – It establishes by any enterprise, or group of persons, engaged in continuing illegal activities in order to achieve their primary purpose which is the generation of profit, unconcerned of national restrictions.
4.0 Counter arguments
4.1. Pirated CD is cheaper than original CD.
There is a positive side to piracy, that the pirated CD is cheaper than original CD. Normally, a pirated CD costs between RM3 to RM20 in Malaysia. It is reason why a lot of people who would not buy an original CD for the set price will buy it at a cheaper price. It is more advantageous for consumer especially teenagers who can not afford their life themselves. There are many complaints that have been voiced by some consumers is that CDs are too expensive. A music student, said: “Where am I going to buy CDs? Not in expensive shops. I don’t want to buy CDs there because I don’t have that much money” (Price, 2002). On average, a CD costs between RM40 and RM50 in Malaysia. While, pirated CD which offer a wide variety of hits songs and more many tracks than original CD, sell for considerably less (Campbell, n.d). These are common sense that price decrease, demands of consumer will increase. It is all considered about consumer goods.
4.2. Pirated CD has wide range of availability.
Pirated CD has wide range of availability so that we can buy pirated CD easily. Nowadays, we can easily to see and buy pirated CD in everywhere. Besides, we do not even need to go to the certain CD shop to buy it as pirated CD is convenient to be purchased. The pirated CD usually being selling at a secret place and the sellers of pirated CD accost you on pedestrian overpasses and on street corners, even in broad daylight. Today, in Beijing, sellers even skulk in respectable restaurants and cafes, trying to tempt customers to buy the pirated CD. It is hard to run away from their solicitations (Kuo, 2006).
5.0 Transition Statement
Even though pirated CD is more advantageous for consumer as it is cheaper, disadvantage of pirated CD brings far more negative effects particularly for music industry. Although the advantages of piracy are attractive, the disadvantages are too great to let piracy continue and grow the way it is. Contrary to what many of the uninformed pirates believe as to why these types of piracy are legal, or why it should be, most of their arguments are invalid. Therefore, we should have to envisage this problem deeply because piracy is not only corrupted the people who are currently employed by the music industry such as artist and composers.
6.1 Against intellectual property rights.
First of all, piracy is severely damaging and opposing with intellectual property rights (copyright). Copyright protects everyone involved in the music industry. Copyright protects the true value behind the sale of any musical recording. These rights represent and reward the creativity, sweat and toil of those who create and sell music. Therefore, all products that created by any person will be protected under the law of copyright, which is being established in order to prevent any unauthorised copying or pirating act from another’s works. Furthermore, many regulations and copyright laws have been set up to protect everyone’s intellectual property rights, such as Copyright Act 1987. Conversely, piracy is definitely hurting the music industry right now. It is because it duplicates the musical recording and sells it in a cheap price. Unauthorized copied CD and distribution of copyrighted works, is considered as a form of stealing. Pirates are the enemy of creativity and all creators.
Piracy is the illegal copying of sound recordings, usually for financial gain. However, customers are not looking seriously towards this problem, because they only focus on what is more beneficial for them. So, the customers ought to be instilled the knowledge on intellectual property right/copyright to public. Besides, because of the weak copyright laws and poor law enforcements, pirates still go on and even more rampant gradually nowadays. These days, counterfeits and other pirates are able to find out the sanctuary of poor copyright regulation and ineffective anti-piracy enforcement. Berman, who is the chairman of IFPI which represents the recording industry worldwide, said that the industry invests ample resources in opposing piracy, but our self help tactics critically depend on help from governments (Global CD piracy continues to burn music industry, 2006). Meaning that, the crackdown of piracy should be in help with government and also the customers who are buying pirated CD.
6.2 Decrease the sales of original CD due to the lower price.
Furthermore, the overflowing of pirated CD will decrease the sales of original CD due to the lower price and more convenient to be got. It may cause the shrivelling of music industry. Most of the people formerly have bought once pirated CD, because they are cheaper than original CD and can be bought everywhere. However, they are really bringing a big blow and worst hit towards Malaysian music industry, even in international music industry the overflowing of pirated CD has decreased the sales of original CD, it has made a lot of loses for music industry. The IFPI has said that the global recorded music market dropped seven percent by value last year to $32 billion (Global CD piracy continues to burn music industry, 2006). Moreover, according to the information provided by IFPI 2002, Malaysia have more 50% of purchased CDs were pirated CD in the market (IFPI Music Piracy Report 2002, 2002). According the commentary that will be provided by IFPI every year; the sales of pirated CD are still proliferated; oppositely the sales of original CD are still in worst sales. Besides, the effects of piracy will increase the rise of organised crimes.
According to the report by IFPI which represents the recording industry worldwide, CD piracy stands for a huge US$4.5 billion illicit enterprise (What is copyright, n.d). In other words, government loses US$4.5 billion in tax revenue every year as because of the overflowing of pirated CD. On the other hand, most of the income of piracy will go into drug trade and criminal activities. Additionally, there is total of 1.2 billion fake CDs were sold in 2005 universally, meaning that more than one in three CDs sold worldwide was a pirated copy (The Recording Industry 2005 Commercial Piracy Report, 2005). Therefore, Malaysian government is working hard in opposing pirated CD. However, the result is not satisfied. The pirated CD still continues to be exported in nationwide even worldwide. Therefore the war against pirated CD is still continued and maybe last for a long time.
6.3 Artists may not get maximum rewards although they have contributed creativity.
According to Berman, in music industry, artists may not get maximum rewards although their have contributed creativity (IFPI Music Piracy Report 2002, 2002). In addition, record producers also have to decrease their artist rosters. CDs have to be priced so that the creators of the music could recover their high costs because it is expensive to produce records. A Ukrainian artist named Katya Cilly has stated that she has seen pirated copies of her album sold in the street and this is really heartbroken when see the fruits of her hard work stolen in everywhere. Since Ukrainian artists cannot earn money from selling their albums, they are forced to give nonstop concerts to survive (IFPI Music Piracy Report 2002, 2002).
From the sensation of the Ukrainian artist above, it can show that piracy deprives the living space of the artists seriously and it is a severe offence to the artist. It even can make them lose their job if CD piracy still carries on. Music piracy is theft; it steals from young and promising artists of the fruits of their creative endeavor. This is a real loss to the music world. Rosmin Hashim who is the Chairman of Recording Industry Association of Malaysia mentioned that music piracy was dishearten talented new artists (Malaysia starts anti-CD piracy drive, 2002)
To sum up, the overflowing of pirated CD is rampant nowadays. There is a wide range of availability and widespread of pirated CD in every market. The current laws on CD piracy should be reinforced as it is against intellectual property rights. It also will decrease the sales of original CD seriously, and then make government loses millions in tax revenue yearly. In addition, CD piracy destroys the interest and rights of artists, artists may not get maximum rewards although they have contributed creativity. However, to solve this problem, there are a lot of regulations and laws have been set up to protect the intellectual property rights, such as Copyright act of 1976, Copyright act of 1998, Copyright act 1987 and Optical Disc act 2000. Nevertheless, most of the pirated CDs are being sold openly nowadays but it still complicates action to be taken against the CD piracy culprits. Then, who should responsible to this problem? The answer will be “who is concerned must also be responsible to this problem, including consumer, music industry itself and also government.”
It is recommended that government should instill the knowledge on intellectual property right/copyright to public. It is because most of the people do not know the importance of the copyright so they commit CD piracy as well. Lack of knowledge on intellectual property rights is the main cause of the overflowing of pirated CD. Reinforcement of law ought to aim in instilling the knowledge on intellectual property right to public. Additionally, the ideal way of educating people about intellectual property is to start teaching it to students in schools. Apart from that, where there are several different governments departments and agencies involved in the fight against piracy there is often a lack of effective communication. Governments should appoint a strong leading agency to coordinate anti-piracy activities with the political will to drive through successful campaigns.