The piracy of music and movies came about with the advent of technology and has been hurtful to both industries. Some might even say that it has discouraged the output of new films and music due to the lack of money to be made. Based on the Norton introduction to Volume B, it would appear as if our founding fathers had the same problems, but in a different way:
"A national copyright law became effective in the United States in 1790, but not until 1891 did U.S. writers get international copyright protection and foreign writers receive similar protection in the United States. For most of the century, American publishers routinely pirated English writers, paying nothing to Scott, Dickens, and other popular writers for works sold widely in inexpensive editions throughout the United States. American readers benefited from the situation, but the availability to publishers of texts that they did not have to purchase or pay royalties on made it perpetually difficult for U.S. writers to be paid for their work in their home country." (935)
Perhaps this is why everyone finds Volume A of the Norton so boring, because the copy-write laws weren't signed until after the civil war...
Is there any way we could learn from past mistakes in history based on this similar conundrum? The above problem was obviously solved with copy-write laws, but now that such laws already exist and are still being broken how can we possibly fix the problem? While the internet has made it easier for smaller artists to get exposed, they are still not making any money off of their myspace plays and even the ones that do get signed to labels aren't making enough to sustain themselves. The only two real solutions I can think of would be for labels to make music downloadable for free and make money off advertising or for the internet to be monitored. Both solutions seem ridiculous but something must be done to save the arts.