The leakage of information has become a matter of concern in the 21st century, the era of the Internet and digitalization. As art has become digital whether it be literature, music or cinema art, the problem of pirate copies has become really crucial. What is even worse that pirate copies, is the leak of information prior to official release. This is what happened in our case. Because all the songs from the album were put online prior to official release date, the band and it’s record label will bear thousands of dollars of losses. But financial side of the issue is not the point of the study. The point of the study is try to understand who is the main priority in this ethical dilemma, the artist and the record label who will sustain losses or the fans who had the right to know about the leak.
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First of all, let us make it clear what is the purpose of the music outlets such as Billboard and Rolling Stone. The basis of their activities is to let people know about the latest news in the music world whether it be the official release of the new album or the leak of songs from the one. Bearing this in mind, it is wrong to say that they violate the band’s copyright by posting an article containing the information about the leak of the songs. The issue here is whether the music outlets provide the link for downloading the pirate copies of the songs. In the case if they post a link redirecting a reader to iTunes or online music shops that will sell the album once it is released or provide them with the sample that are only possible to listen to, they reserve the band’s copyright. Ethical issues rise when the music outlets help the fans find the way to download the leaked music. It is the only case in which they infringe the rights of intellectual property, so they may be judged for it.
From an ethical standpoint, this situation is deontological, as it is the work of Billboard and Rolling Stone to provide people with the latest news occurring in the music world even if it is the leakage of information. From the music outlets’ perspective, the main priority is to satisfy the reader, so the band and the record label are not taken in consideration. What is more, they are just a source of news, and they do not force people to download the leaked music – it is the choice of the one who reads the article. What is even more important is the fact that if not Rolling Stone or Billboard then someone else may have become the source of this information, so those who wanted to download the pirate copy of the songs prior to the album release, would have found the ways to do so.
Still, there is a possibility to reserve the copyright and provide the fans with the latest news. Music outlets may post articles containing the information about the leak but stress that they are against the infringement of the intellectual property rights and remind of the legal ways of getting the album so that the readers might browse the Internet if they decide that they want to download the songs.