Billy Tarter
CMU 418A Final Project
"Bravo! An attractive, comprehensive site with good, clear contents and excellent, up-to-date examples. There's not much to critique in this thorough job." Professor John Bowes
University of Washington
Grade = 4.0


The world is changing swiftly, and as computers become more integral to everyday life, sometimes the old paradigms of intellectual property no longer apply. This website will attempt to explain some of the problems that the digital revolution has brought to the concept of intellectual property, and how the industries of audio, video, and software are being affected. This paper will attempt to cover all relevant industries, but the majority of our discussion will revolve around the music industry and MP3s.

It is my view that the concept of intellectual property will change forever due to the recent advances in the speed of computers and the Internet. In this website, I will attempt to show the reader how the Internet is facilitating piracy of audio, video, and software. I will also make the case that if the industries involved do not change their business models and embrace this new technology, they will soon be writing their own epitaphs.

On this page, I will organize the different technologies and outline their potential. On the "Duplication" page, I will demonstrate how these "intellectual properties" can be easily duplicated using an average computer. In "Distribution", you will see how the Internet makes exchanging these duplicated "properties" surprisingly easy. "Countermeasures" will explain the industries' attempts to curb this piracy and maintain their legal copyrights, as well as attempts by others to avoid these restrictions. The effects on society will be found in "The Future", where I will make predictions about the future of intellectual property and recommendations for the industries involved.

The "Resources" page contains the works cited in this website, as well as some other resources that you may find useful. When a phrase is cited with a number in parentheses (2), it means that the #2 source on the resources page is being cited.

Music & Audio

This category includes the famous MP3 files as well as any other type of digital audio format, such as WAV files. For our purposes, we will mainly discuss MP3s, which are digital computer files that are most commonly used to encode music. Essentially, MP3 is a sound-file compression scheme (1). The beauty of MP3 is that one can capture a CD-quality song and yet only use one-tenth of the hard disk space (1). However, MP3s can also contain spoken word sessions (see Audible) and audio-books (5). MP3s are played using widely available shareware MP3-players.

Movies & Video

This category encompasses all forms of video which contains intellectual property. This includes VHS videotapes, as well as DVD, or digital video disc. DVDs are the size of compact discs and can hold entire full-length hi-fidelity films.

Software & Video Games

Under this classification we discuss pirated PC and Mac software, as well as copied video games (mainly Sony Playstation games).

Not discussed...

In covering "The Arts", of course drama productions came to mind, but I was not able to find any evidence of copyright infringement of plays on the Internet. The only way that I could think that drama could be pirated would be via the methods discussed under the category "Movies & Video".

Also, there is not really a big problem with the copying of the printed word. Certainly, plagiarism exists, but that is a different topic altogether. My feeling is that people don't really want to read entire books online, and therefore there is no point in pirating books because nobody wants them.

Pirated photography is sometimes a case of plagiarism, and sometimes a case of forgetting to quote one's source. Sometimes photos are altered online and this fact is not disclosed. Nevertheless, this does not seem to fit in with the overall theme presented on this website.

Making copies of paintings or other art forms does seem to be piracy in a way, but not nearly on the scale of the other categories we will discuss in this website. Actually, it would seem that most artists don't mind if you take photos of their work, so long as you don't make a profit from it. It's almost like free publicity; besides, there's only one original that's actually worth anything.

Onward to "Duplication"...