The rise of the smartphone industry and the growing number of start-up app developers has managed to drive the popularity of the iPod into the ground. People are starting to find it unnecessary to purchase an additional $200 device for music when their smart phone, which in itself costs upwards of $500 alone, does the same job as an iPod in a much more efficient manner. Not to mention the convenience of downloading an app, such as Spotify or Apple Music, to that smartphone and paying a certain monthly fee to have access to a seemingly unlimited supple of music. Although the market for the iPod is dwindling it still has a cult following. The innovation of the iPod raised the question whether downloading music from the internet was legal or illegal. This practice is legal only if done accordingly to guidelines vaguely stated in our legal system.
Sources for downloading music
The most popular source for downloading music is a website titled YouTube to MP3. The website allows the user to copy and paste a URL from YouTube, a video sharing site, and the website converts the video into an audio file. The audio file is then downloaded and can be moved into the storage of the desired device or played at will on the user's computer. This may seem strange because it steps around any form of payment so the artist is not being compensated for their work. How is this not illegal?
Legality of downloading music
The issue and use of copyrights can be daunting to wrap your head around especially when people are not giving a straight answer. To try and answer this issue the Fair USE Act was put into place. The document does not exactly help clear any confusion because of its vagueness. Traditionally a person can use a copyrighted work for the purposes to criticize and provide feedback or to make a parody of the content. Of course, since downloading music does not fall into either of these two categories it falls into one of the many exceptions laid out in the document. According to the Fair USE Act, a copyrighted work can be used for personal use. Simply put, downloading music for the purpose of listening to it is not illegal. The act of downloading becomes illegal when an individual then tries to distribute the material to other people. Also profiting off those copies without explicit permission from the copyright owner is illegal. This makes sense when considering how you would not want someone profiting off your hard work and effort.
Traditional methods of acquiring music
If the idea of downloading music still seems unjust, there are always traditional, go-to channels that ensure the artist gets proper compensation. There exist platforms, such as iTunes or Google Play, that allow people to pay for the songs they download. The problem, however, is that at the cost of about one dollar per song it becomes incredibly expensive to acquire a large library.