The Progress of Technology Allows for More Free Riders




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The Progress of Technology Allows for More Free Riders

The number of free riders of music and movies has steadily increased mainly because technology has made it easier and cheaper to participate in free riding. The progress of technology in the music and movie industries has been very similar throughout the years: cassettes and VHSs, CDs and DVDs, MP3s and AVIs.21 The similarity between the technologies used in the two industries has lead to similar consumer behavior. It is important to note, though, that CDs came out about 10 years before DVDs.22 The main cause of this delay was digital storage capacity. Movies require a significant greater amount of storage space than a song or even a full CD of songs; up to 100 times greater.23 This storage space obstacle, coupled with the obstacle of Internet bandwidth speed, has accounted for the similar 10-year delay in the piracy of movies.

In 1999, Napster allowed Internet users using a dial-up connection to download a song at the maximum rate of 56 Kbits/second, taking under an hour per song.24 In order to have downloaded a 700MB movie at that rate it would have taken days to finish, which was not enough incentive for people to start sharing their movies online. Current bandwidth speeds, however, have reached a point where movies can be downloaded in less than an hour by the average PC owner,25 a time that will continue to drop and cause consumers to be more tempted to free ride. Further, most hard drives in 1999 only had a storage capacity of less than 1GB, barely enough to fit one full movie.26 Presently, consumers have cheap access to large hard drives, up to 2TB (2000GB), that give them the space needed to create large digital movie libraries.27 The progress in these two technologies has opened up the world of movie piracy to the everyday PC user.




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The Progress of Technology Allows for More Free Riders

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