ISPs and the Online Pirates

By Jimmy Hoesan

A. Defining Online Music Piracy

So, what is online music piracy? According to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), if someone makes unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings by online, it would be considered as online music piracy. Nowadays, digital information can be downloaded easily, and they seem to be as free as air. However, the United States copyright law has clearly stated that it is prohibited to download or upload copyrighted music without permission (RIAA, 2011).

It is not really clear when people started downloading music. But downloading music was become famous in 1998 after a software called Napster was released. Napster was a software that allow people around the world to share each other’s music files. Napster was sued by RIAA in 1999 for facilitating music pirating. Then because of so many litigation cases, Napster changed the software from music file-sharing to an Internet music subscription service that sell legitimate online music (Funding Universe, 2011).

After Napster, a lot of software and website are created that provide free music downloading, such as Pirate Bay, Limewire, 4share, etc. People find it really easy to download and get music for free, which lead to uncontrollable online music piracy.

B. Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Almost everyone now uses internet. To use the internet, people need to open an account or subscribe to Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Basically, ISP is a company that supplies Internet connectivity to home and business customers (Mitchell, 2011). However, some ISPs also provide different service to their customers. Verizon and AT&T only sell service for Internet connectivity to public, later on this ISP type will be mentioned as ISP1. Other ISPs, such as Iweb and Amhosting provide service to set and full manage a computer server for customer, later on this ISP type will be mentioned as ISP2. Computer server is a computer that is used to create a website for company, business, or personal use. Computer server can also be used for database, game server, etc. There are also ISPs that only rent the server to public without manage the server, so the responsibility to manage the server belongs to customer. From this point, this type of ISP will be mentioned as ISP3.

Online music piracy all started from these three types of ISPs. To create a website, people need a server and Internet connectivity to make the website be up and running. People with lack knowledge to manage a server would rent a server from ISP2, but someone with a good information technology skill would rent a server from ISP3.

Right now, all these ISPs are currently working together with the government to prevent and decrease online music piracy. For example, India government has commanded India’s ISP1 to block Pirate Bay to be accessed in India (TechZilo, 2011). In The United States, government has asked ISP2 and ISP3 to shut down several servers, such as Limewire,, Rmx4u.

To completely prevent online music piracy, ISP2 and ISP3 could prohibit customers to rent servers for opening piracy sites. However, it is really difficult to track and check what customers use the server for, especially for ISP3 that only rent out the servers without managing them. Prohibiting customers to rent servers for opening piracy sites would also cut ISP’s source of income.

Additional sources:


1 Comment (+add yours?)

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    Jul 27, 2012 @ 01:52:24

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