People can upload, download and share media files in a lot of ways, using the Internet. Virtual community treats this in different ways, since every person has an opinion on the issue. When we consider the fact of physical borrowing of the music CDs, this requires a bit different approach. CDs are usually purchased in stores, and customers pay not only for the media on the CD, but for the copyright, i.e. the owner of the rights on music benefits from the purchase in the first place. The consumer becomes the owner of a particular CD and the rights to it that come along, the rights to the media burnt on that CD. Thus, a situation when someone shares a CD with a friend means the failure to keep up to the law, as copyright of a single copy gets distributed to a few people.
When files are shared online, sometimes it is not possible to clearly distinguish their source, i.e. they could be ripped from the music CD that was bought by the person, uploading the files, purchased from the online store or taken from the music CD that was also borrowed, so copyright was breached even more than once. The worst case possible is when music files are taken from one free-sharing site and stored on another one. This way the chances that the license holder receives any royalties are minimal. On the other hand, when used CDs are borrowed or purchased even at the miserable prices, it is highly plausible that the royalties for that CD were paid during the initial purchase at the retail store. Intellectual property rights are violated in both cases, as the license holder benefits from the purchase just once, considering an optimistic scenario, or does not benefit at all in the worse one. Online sharing may result in heavy fines once it is caught by the legal authority, however sharing CDs with friends is not likely to be punished, unless one of the people, involved in the deal, shares this info with the respectful authorities, monitoring such copyright violations.
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