In small groups, students discuss and answer these questions:
1. If you download music from the internet, are you breaking the law?
2. If you swap files on American sites, will you get into trouble?
3. Can you be sued for swapping just a few songs?
4. Can children be sued?
5. Are music industry bosses planning to sue anyone in the UK?
Students can check their answers against this printable page of our guide to the music business.
The record industry in America is suing more than 200 people who've been downloading music from the internet. They face paying the music bosses a huge amount of money.
Ask the class:
1. Has anyone ever copied their work or idea?
2. How did it feel?
3. Illegal music swapping has been blamed for a drop in global record sales. How might this affect the music business? Prompt: Less cash for videos and promotion, fewer MTV style channels, fewer professional musicians, maybe less good distribution system.
4. Who benefits from illegal music swapping? Prompt: In the short term music is free if you copy it, smaller companies could do better if the industry is more of a level playing field.
5. If global record sales drop, who loses out? Artists who rely on lots of promotion would suffer as revenue would not be there to pay for campaigns, small companies who are not very profitable could disappear, there may be less music available for consumers.
6. Will musicians stop making music if there is less money in it? Prompt: If you are making music to express yourself you will still make music, it will be harder to make a living from just music.
Students devise a marketing campaign that will publicise their own method for reducing illegal downloads.
Lower CD prices
Stronger penalties for file swappers
Better law enforcement
Action against people who run file swap websites
Educate the public about copyright
They can draft leaflets and posters or storyboard a video clip to go on the internet or TV.
Individual students tell the rest of the class one new thing they have learned about:
The chart merger
The law surrounding downloading music
Make a class list to reiterate all the points.
What is music downloading? Using the internet to transfer songs in digital format to your computer. These can come from websites and other home computers around the world.
Why bother? You can play downloaded songs on a computer, copy them to a CD or put them onto a portable device like Apple's iPod.
Also, songs cost about 79p-99p online compared with £1.99-£3.99 for a CD single.
Authorised sites These are official services which work with record labels and artists. Most require payment to cover royalties and other music industry costs.
Unauthorised sites These usually offer free tracks that have been copied by other fans and put there without the permission of labels and artists. Fans get lots of choice - but no money goes back to those who made the music.
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