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Debate: Prohibition of downloading music and films

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This House believes that downloading music and films from the Internet should be prohibited

Contents

Background and Context of Debate:

Feasibility: Is the ban on downloading feasible?

Pro

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Con

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Crime: Is downloading a crime?

Pro

  • Downloading equals stealing intellectual property. Downloading is in essence a crime, just like shoplifting; the only difference being that you steal pieces of metal and plastic from a shop together with the song or the film, whereas you download just the "software" from the Internet. However, it is the "software" - the song or film itself that matters the most. It is the intellectual property which, just like any other property, should be protected by law.

Con

  • Definition of crime is derived from our values. If the vast majority of people consider downloading "normal", then we should reconsider our perception of downloading. As our society moves forward, so should our laws, so that we are not stuck in the past, with obsolete legislation nobody cares to obey.

Economics: What are the economic implications of the ban on downloading?

Pro

  • Downloading equals lost tax revenue. When people download music and films for free, they (obviously) do not pay taxes. Therefore, the government incurs a loss due to Internet piracy.
  • Downloading harms artists. Internet piracy equals lost revenues for musicians (as well as their managers...) who in turn struggle to earn a decent living.
  • Downloading disincentives creativity and innovation. If songs and films are not protected by copyright laws, the artists are less willing to pursue an artistic career, which in turn means less diversity in film and music industry.
  • Downloading impedes economic growth. Downloading (as outlined above) implies less innovation and entrepreneurship, which in effect impedes economic growth. In fact, "the U.S. economy as a whole may grow more slowly because of reduced innovation and loss of trade revenue". ["Observation on Efforts to Quantify the economic Effects of Counterfeit and Pirated Goods", by Government Accountability Office, 2010]

Con

  • Downloading helps promote less well-known artists. Downloading means sample listening and viewing, and thus helps promote less popular artists, whose CDs or films wouldn't people otherwise buy.


Morality: Would the ban on downloading uphold our moral pillars?

Pro

  • The prohibition sends the right message. Crime should not pay, and after crime comes punishment. Two basic pillars or or legislation. If we turn a blind eye towards Internet piracy, we are in effect undermining our set of values, which clearly is immoral.
  • Downloading is a crime. Crime should not pay, and neither should downloading, the common euphemism for stealing intellectual property. Downloading itself cannot be justified neither economically, nor socially, nor morally.

Con

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Consumers: Would they benefit from the ban on downloading?

Pro

  • Downloading equals inferior quality. Downloaded files tend to be of inferior quality to those purchased. Therefore prohibiting downloading in effect means people buying high-quality music and films.
  • Downloading troubles consumers. Downloading is not only about free entertainment, but also about free spyware and viruses. Ban on downloading could limit these harms to consumers greatly.
  • Ban is vital for preserving variety. If we do not protect artists and their intellectual property, they have less incentives to innovate, which in turn diminishes variety in music and film industries.

Con

  • Downloading equals free entertainment and education. If we prohibited downloading, we would truncate people's access to free entertainment (films and songs) and education (documentary films)





See also

External links and resources:

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