Critical Criminology

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 387–409 | Cite as

A critical examination of the digital music phenomenon



“MP3” has become an iconic term and hugely popular phenomenon in recent years. This compressed digital music format has been championed as the greatest multimedia revolution since the television. The technology has also been maligned as a dubious (and illegal) tool that allows individuals to obtain CD-quality music without purchasing an audio CD, thereby denying proceeds rightfully due to artists, bands, and the recording industry. The current piece seeks to explore this dialectical relationship by applying the precepts of critical criminology to the phenomenon. Following a foundational explanation of MP3s and the presentation of examples that expand upon its controversial nature, this work describes the critical view held by MP3 supporters who perceive the music industry and government as controlling agents seeking to maintain their legitimacy, power, and wealth by restricting dissemination and reproduction of free music to, and among, the masses. Can this control be considered a “victimization” of society? Must we rethink our traditional notion of deviance being ascribed primarily to acts committed by an individual against a corporate entity, because in this case the harm caused by the latter is much more significant than that of the former? These issues are developed and analyzed in detail to inform and guide a critical interpretation.


Critical Examination Digital Right Management Criminological Theory Music Industry Copyright Infringement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeFlorida Atlantic UniversityJupiterUSA

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