With the introduction of the internet, music distribution and publication became a lot easier, the traditional modes of distribution and publication quickly became outdated. However, a major challenge that the internet brought with it is the easy access to content. Music can now be accessed by anyone anywhere in the world. Copyright owners of musical content now have to deal with unauthorised copying and distribution of their songs on the internet. The term “piracy,” as used in this article, refers to the illegal copying and distribution of proprietary content such as software, music, or movies.

Prior to the advent of the internet, it was very difficult to illegally copy and distribute proprietary content and this was because of the manual method of copying and distribution.However, with the internet, production times and cost are drastically reduced, new distribution channels have been opened. Some unauthorised copies are “bootlegged,” copied for later resale at below marketbelow-market prices.  Other unauthorised copies are made and distributed by consumers who trade them without payment.  In a break from traditional notions of piracy and counterfeiting, the “digital piracy” of primary concern today involves non-physical objects: digital files sold or exchanged over the Internet.

The issue of digital media piracy can be viewed differently from the point of view of each of the involved parties.  In most cases, we can see three roles: the content creator or distributor, who suffers a loss (monetary or otherwise) from the piracy act, the “pirate,” who can make a profit from illegally copying and distributing the protected material, and the end consumer, who ultimately decides to which of the previous two parties his money goes. Every year, record labels lose a huge amount of money to piracy. An analysis by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) estimates a loss of $12.5 Billion annually to piracy in America.

All a pirate needs is to legally or illegally purchase a song;create of copies of the song and upload same for download or sell it for very low prices. Media pirates are willing to take the risk of facing legal charges and are constantly investing considerable resources in finding ways to circumvent mediaregulations.  A curious phenomenon is that these “intermediaries” i.e. traditional pirates, are less and less needed by the whole piracy mechanism, since it is now possible for consumers to create their own copies and share them directly, without the need of specialised machinery. The third role, consumers, represents the target for the other two.  Theyultimately spend money acquiring pirated media and usuallyhave the option of buying the original but rather get a pirated copy.  The first one has many benefits, like quality standards, packaging, extras (like booklets or secondary discs), peace of mind, and, more importantly, legality.  Piracy provides a very tempting deal: a nearly-as-good product for a ridiculously lower price. For example, in Nigeria where the internet is a little bit expensive, it is costly to continuously stream music on your mobile device compared downloading songs from third party websites. This accounts for large parts the reason why the Nigerian music industry does not get as much profit as it should, music is mostly gotten from pirates which means little or no profit is going to the artistes, the majority.

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