Powerful Statements and Statistics on Piracy and Internet Morality

A growing popular subject is that of the “$8 billion iPod case.” Rob Reid presents a TedTalk on this subject. He brings up the debate over copyright laws and quantitative reasoning, proposing that “we employ and enlist the cutting edge field of copyright math whenever we approach this subject.” Reid’s TedTalk does just that. He approaches the topic of copyright and piracy by presenting quantitative examples that, at first, show the astounding effects piracy has on media content but then show that it’s not what people make it seem. His first example, for instance, was that, recently (2011), the Motion Picture Association of America released a statement saying that “more than $58 billion is lost to the U.S. economy annually due to content theft.” The rest of Reid’s TedTalk is about how copyright mathematicians will analyze this number rather than argue it. For example, he says this $58 billion economic loss is the equivalent to the entire American corn crop failing along with all of our fruit cops as well as wheat, cotton, tobacco, rice, and sorghum. He brings a humorous viewpoint about this topic; in fact, at times, he seems to be making fun of the people who get so uptight about piracy, saying, along with analysis, that we are not actually losing $58 billion annually because big content markets are growing along with historic norms. He begins to finish his TedTalk by claiming that piracy has not prevented additional growth but copyright math tells us that piracy has caused foregone growth in a market that has no historic norms. Reid’s TedTalk brings an interesting, humorous, and opposing view to my topic. While he never directly states his opinion on whether or not he thinks piracy is theft, he brings up statistics and facts that could help one form their opinion on the subject. What’s at stake is really up to the viewer and could be whether or not they take a mathematical approach or a realistic approach to the topic of copyright laws and quantitative reasoning. Rob Reid is the creator of Rhapsody, where you pay $10 a month for unlimited songs. Of course his opinion on piracy is going to be one that supports the fact he is the creator of a service that, in some ways, allows piracy. While you may be paying for the service you are not paying for individual songs. After you have downloaded or listened to 10 songs then you are technically pirating the rest. I believe Reid’s frame and what he is trying to convey is the fact that our copyright laws do not comply with our society today and that the mathematical numbers are not accurate because of our society today. This could bring up an entire discussion on copyright laws and I am actually interested in further researching our copyright laws to see if they are applicable to today’s society or not. However, he is so persistent on his views of piracy and copyright laws that I feel like he is trying to make me believe something that I don’t know if I want to believe or not.

NPR has a great piece written by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel called, “Can a Computer Change the Essence of Who You Are?” Their focus was on whether or not having access to background information on people changed the way people responded to you. For example, with background information one might be able to find out that “Kenji’s” daughter was in college. With this one piece of information a person would be able to ask Kenji how her daughter is doing, what she’s majoring in, where she is going to college, etc., making the conversation a lot more personable. The point that Miller and Spiegel make is that by being personable it conveys to others that you care and the response by those whom you “care” about is way different. They suddenly become interested and accepting. This subject applies to my topic because it discusses how online interaction may or may not change us as humans. What’s at stake is how far we take our involvement with social media and how we let it change us. I don’t believe that Miller and Spiegel have a direct frame they are writing in because they bring up at least three different viewpoints on this topic. I personally enjoy this because it gives me three different perspective to look at instead of feeling like I am being told to believe one thing. This topic allows me to explore how involved a person has to be with social media in order to be changed as a person. A person could be benefited or damaged by their involvement with social media. Social media could help people have more confidence which could either provide them with the confidence they need for social relationships or it could provide them with too much confidence, turning them into a person who says whatever comes to mind, which is not always good.

The focus of an article called, “The Internet, Cyberethics, and Virtual Morality,” written by Robert Hauptman and Susan Motin is trying to stop the influence of the internet on the way we act. Hauptman and Motin say, “Computers have changed the way we create. The Internet is changing the way we communicate. We should make certain that these things do not change the way we act.” I could not agree more with this statement. Something else they say that I really like, and believe is the main issue they present is, “They [cyberethics and virtual morality] are particularly harmful if they allow us to confuse reality with a nonexistent universe where unethical actions are permitted.” I believe the issue that Hauptman and Motin bring up relate to my inquiry because it discusses how internet can change a person but also how we can prevent being changed by the internet, which is something that most articles I have come across do not address. I believe the frame that Hauptman and Motin are writing in is that the internet is powerful enough to change who we are as a person and how we act in reality. I don’t think they are trying to make us believe their opinion; however, they are elaborating on something that is very true and needs to be brought to people’s attention. I think I could use this article to take my inquiry to places beyond the basics. It will raise questions about how to prevent being changed by the internet.

In an article written by Tamara Conniff, a point is brought up which I have addressed but have not found any written material on yet. The article is titled, “Artists, Execs, and Lawmakers Address Effects on Piracy.” The issue is clearly the effects that piracy has on these people. Conniff specifically focuses on reports from a legislative hearing at the Assembly Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media in the California Legislature. I believe this issue applies to my topic because it brings up a valid point spoken from the artists and creators themselves about how piracy hurts the media (music, movies, etc.) industry. I think that it could be a powerful point to help persuade people to buy their content instead of pirate it. An example, and something that stood out to me, is when producer/songwriter, Glen Ballard, said that if “downloading continued to run rampant, fewer and fewer songwriters would be able to support themselves in their craft.” Coming from a songwriter himself, this is a powerful and troubling statement. I believe the frame that Conniff is writing in is that of trying to get people to understand the harmful effects piracy has on the actual artists themselves. It helps tremendously that the statements made and brought up are coming from the artists, creators, producers, songwriters, etc. This source will help me further form my opinion on piracy as well as bring in views from the people being affected by the problem rather than views from people who simply have opinions on the problem.

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