With the advent of the digital age, it’s become much easier to steal music. Across the country, anyone who owns a computer can log on to a peer-to-peer network and obtain songs and whole albums for free.
As large as the problem of peer-to-peer stealing of songs is, it’s not the easiest, nor the most common way to pirate music. That would be ripping streams of music off the Internet, which accounts for 98 percent of all music listened to on the Web. All it takes is a simple Google search to find literally millions of free programs that enable users to steal music straight from a stream without the risk of being caught. These same programs also allow users to steal from supposedly secure music services like iTunes and Napster.
Recently the Copyright Royalty Board of the United States announced that it is raising royalty rates on Internet broadcasters by 30 percent, retroactive to 2006, to combat the huge problem of stream ripping. There is also a $500 fee per station/channel/playlist.
While some Web broadcasters are upset about the decision, one Santa Cruz-based company welcomes it, and has devised a viable solution to the illegal ripping of music streams.