Ethics in Marketing
The music industry is slowly learning that the very nature of the web is that its content is largely free. Users are used to regularly getting free e-mail, free Internet service providers, and free software demos. Many supporters of these sites believe that people should think of these sites as a new kind of radio - a promotional tool that can help artists who don't have the opportunity to get their music played on mainstream radio or on the music video channels.
So who is right? Both sides raise valid points. It isn't fair that artists aren't getting paid for their music. It isn't fair that record companies overcharge for cheaply produced CD's. These different websites are guilty of providing the tools for people to trade pirated music, but at the same time it functions as an unofficial kind of marketing tool for music. Nevertheless, it's ethically, morally, and, for the most part, legally wrong. Each time one of these sites is shut down permanently, undoubtedly another file swapping service will surface. The recording industry is going to have to deal with the file sharing phenomenon or risk disappearing forever.
"Ethics is about winning in the long term. Good business and good ethics are not a contradiction in terms" (Wyburd, p. 108). Self-regulatory guidelines are intended to be honored in light of their aims and principles. All marketers should support the guidelines in spirit and not treat their provisions as obstacles to be circumvented by legal ingenuity. Companies still appear to be dictated primarily by profit margin rather than "right and wrong."
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