3A: Research Essay Project




Now it’s time to embark on the research study you’ve prepared for in Project 2.  In Project 2, you learned how to craft a personalized research process to help you “read in” to a topic that interests you. It is time to take those research skills and put them to use in building persuasive arguments about your topic, targeted to a specific audience. You will compose a researched argument essay, using the argument types outlined in our reading (definition, evaluation, causal, rebuttal, proposal). The objective of this paper is to present the findings from your research, composing an argument about the issue you’ve identified within the topic you studied. You will present your argument in two related projects – the Research Essay Project, and the Infographic Project. These two projects will draw on the same body of research, but will use different genres to present your findings. For this project (Project 3A), you will be focusing on writing in an academic tone and style, developing your ethos as researchers by practicing using an “academic voice” to respond to or join the conversation you see happening. In Project 3B, you will focus on using elements of visual rhetoric and argumentation.


To help develop your understanding of academic discourse, you will use a technique called genre analysis to examine publications in undergraduate research journals. These journals serve as places for students like you to publish their research and participate in a particular conversation…one that you will join.


As your instructor, I will use this assignment to assess your achievement across the following goals:

  1. To have composed a paper that is appropriate for submission to a real-life academic forum, such as an undergraduate research journal, or even the Rushton Conference here at WSU.
  2. To be practicing the research strategies you’ve developed in Project 2—posing research questions, figuring out where to look to find the answers we seek, locating and evaluating scholarly and popular sources, reading the conversation (figuring out who’s saying what about your topic, where are there gaps? are scholars nottalking about something? what’s missing?) and figuring out how you can contribute.


Assignment Prompt

Your final paper should make the reader feel like the argument you are making is reasonable and persuasive, supported by research-based evidence (a reason it is very important to be strategic with your choice and use of sources, to keep excellent notes on rhetorical analysis of sources, and to sketch out the conversation accurately).


You will integrate data gathered through your research into the conversation that you have already begun to identify in your I-Search project. You will further your knowledge by adding at least 4 new sources to your works cited list (2 scholarly, 2 popular, and any other applicable sources needed).


In order to successfully complete this essay assignment, you will need to:

  • Make a claim that is based on the argument types we read about in From Inquiry to Academic Writing
  • Support your claim throughout your essay with examples and evidence gathered through your research methods.
  • Identify and clearly target a specific academicaudience with your writing, considering whether that audience is comprised of insiders or outsiders relative to your community of observation.
  • Your essay should also address the purpose you stated in your I-Search project, and the results of your research investigations. Did you find what you expected? Why or why not?
  • Conclude with avenues for further pursuit: is there an issue or tension you’ve discovered that needs to be further explored? A change you think should be made? More research that needs to be conducted to further pursue your questions?


Online Piracy


Online piracy has its roots in the advent of the internet and broadband technologies rather than paradigm shifts in consumer behavior. Since its evolution, digital piracy has grown at an unprecedented rate and morphed into rigid systems, apps, and software’s that can accommodate threats.  Under these new ecosystems, online piracy has led to the massive loss of digital and physical sales. This paper aims to persuade the masses about the depths, speed, and scale at which online piracy threatens digital sales and sheds light on the massive effects of online piracy in the traditional music supply chain.


In today’s contemporary world, a significant percentage of the population believes digital piracy is the simple act of accessing and owning copyright content freely on the internet.  Such arguments are equivalent to the highly publicized notion “why buy when you can pirate” (Jackman, Mahalia, and Troy Lorde).  In the same vein, these people reason that if they access a film on the internet, it does not harm the artist, producer since they would not have paid anyway. Although this argument seems reasonable, such reasoning is a blatant disregard of the hard work of artists and producers and denies them the right to reap from their effort (Sudler 152).  Critics argue that this flawed perception is anchored on the deep-sited culture of ignorance (Jackman, Mahalia, and Troy Lorde, 2).

Furthermore, a significant percentage have little knowledge and understanding of how the film and music industries work. Online piracy is a crime like no other punishable under the law. Although digital privacy has been a controversial subject, industry experts seem to agree on the adverse effects of its presence in the entertainment industry.  These key stakeholders define digital piracy as the illegal distribution or downloading of copyright music, films, and file-sharing using mobile apps or stream ripping software. This definition attempts to shed light on the series and chains like processes involved in the illegal acquisition and consumption of copyrighted content and explore the myriad issues this act evokes legally and socially.


Although online piracy is a high-profile problem threatening the traditional music and movie supply chain, critics and individuals disregard the incomprehensive impact of this complex and complicated enigma. While crucial industry experts draw on objective inquiry, critics are more drawn to subjective inquiry. Therefore, it is paramount to gain an invested interest in the subject and avoid thinly-veiled perspectives to foster critical debates that build on existing knowledge.  However, the relevance of the argument upholds the credibility of the thoughts, perceptions, and debates. The argument that online piracy involves free access and ownership of copyright material on the internet is shallow and superficial. For decades, so many factors and instruments have operated in this ecosystem, and online piracy has no independence or singularity. Online piracy is a complex and complicated phenomenon that operates within the constraints of technology and the internet.  Other factors such as the advent of the coronavirus pandemic contribute to high piracy rates. The intersection of these factors augments the foundation for piracy loss. Therefore positioning individuals as the only single players is false and unwarranted.

On the other hand, the inconclusive reasoning that failure to access films and movies through legal sites does not harm the artists and producers is unfounded.  Such arguments do not hold any basis and are underrate the danger of online piracy. They are used to deflect from the gravity of the problem and propel the topic towards obscurity. Even though the fight against digital piracy has had its win, we cannot ignore the incomprehensible losses caused by pirated music and movies. Therefore irrespective of which angle you look from, online piracy is wrong and harmful.

There is substantial evidence on the parallel arguments fronted by the different stakeholders. On the one hand, critics claim the lack of downward pressure on digital and physical sales exhibits a flawed perception of the in-depth dangers of online piracy. On the other hand, industry experts acknowledge the illegality and dangers of online piracy and offer insights on how to counter novel digital piracy mutations.


The internet and digital paradigm shifts have caused significant changes in the traditional music, print media and software, and movies supply chain. These rapidly evolving technologies have opened the doors for greater acts of piracy. Under these new ecosystems, online intellectual property piracy contributes to the significant loss of billions of dollars and jobs annually, mainly from pirated music and movies. Numerous studies show that 50% of online piracy occurs through websites while 30% happens through smartphones (Poort 15). Now, more than ever, the digital spaces are saturated with dedicated technical devices and stream-ripping services that aid online piracy. With the continuous advancements in technology, online piracy has become a massive threat to the sales and welfare of recording artists and production companies.

Furthermore, online piracy makes artists lose power over their copyright content and cannot reap from their efforts (Hoffman et al. 551). Online piracy is a massive threat to the sales and welfare of recording artists and production companies. According to a study published by the European commission in 2017, there is an unprecedented rise in piracy of TV-paid free to air decoders. Consequently, top box office revenues plummeted to 40% within the same year, considering that the ten top-rated films from 2017 amassed more than a third of the total box office revenues exclusive of digital and physical sales (Corsearch 1). In totality, this loss led to a 5% drop in sales in the next top-rated movie category. In the same vein, other researchers claim that although online piracy’s impact on sales varies evidence points to a downward trajectory on the distribution channels.

Causal (Call to action, proposal)

Determined to stop online piracy, artists and producers advocate regulating strict protectionism and censorship policies that elicit suspense, making people search for the movies on illegal sites. Strict protectionism and censorship measures cause a drastic increase in piracy supply. Drawing insights from a study conducted in the Chinese market, it is evident that box office gained a 60% increase in total revenues by regulating consumerism and protectionism policies (Condry, 345). It is also crucial for artists and production companies to allocate more theatre time to facilitate large-scale legal supply, thus reducing piracy loss. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to advocate for standardized theatre charges, paid-Tv subscriptions, and live streaming sites to minimize the loss of revenues to piracy. With the continuous advancements in technology, the responsibility is to create awareness of the adverse effects of online piracy on the economy.


For decades there has been a highly polarized debate on the moral framework of online piracy. On the one end of the spectrum, critics argue that artists have nothing to lose if they watch or listen to their work without using the necessary channels. These people believe it is selfish to copyright the sharing of music, movies, and software. Although this argument seems reasonable, the critics disregard the critical aspect that intellectual property is a way to make a living (Lu et al. 551). Considering the capitalist nature of most countries, it is only natural for one to seek assurance that their intellectual property will be a constant source of income.

Further, making such statements augments the debate on the moral complexity of online piracy. For example, if anti-piracy regulators agree that piracy is acceptable, would that same rule apply to people who plagiarize other people’s works. Although it may be selfish for companies to sue the lay public for infringement, especially considering their wealth, enforcing laws plays an integral role in promoting equality. This emphasis better highlights the precepts of the anti-piracy laws and technology. Drafters of the US anti-piracy laws hoped to achieve a transparent, honest, and socially responsible copyright culture in the US entertainment realm (Lu et al. 555). However, recent reports show that there is a deep-rooted culture of piracy in the US. As part of its strategy to minimize digital piracy, streaming companies have standardized their subscription fees to cater to broader audience needs. Notably, Spotify has launched a freemium package available for students and features a free month trial (Vonderau 5). Despite these stringent measures, people still default paying legal sites and turn to illegal sites. This illuminates the need to change the perception and attitudes of consumers towards legal streaming sites.

Secondly, researchers need to assess the protectionism, consumerism coverage options, and alternative measures in legal distribution channels available to understand the scale and speed of digital piracy. Although digital piracy is a widespread phenomenon, the legal supply of live streaming sites is still in the infancy stages, and there have not achieved universal coverage. The absence and unavailability of these legal sites trigger the incidence and prevalence of online piracy.  For example, Spotify ventured into foreign markets such as Europe, Africa, and Latin America. (Vonderau 5). Statistics show that music streaming entertainment companies have discovered that the general ignorance is anchored on a lack of legitimate, legal ways to access music since expanding into these new locations. As a result, most of the people in these countries had to pirate music and movies. Although, this debate seems reasonable as there was no other convenient way to access copyright content.  Data shows that there was a significant fall in the legal supply of music and films. A classic example is the infamous Netflix restriction in Indonesia that led to a 19.7% increase in pirating music and movies compared to other countries in the region (Lu et al. 551). Lack of rigid legal supply of copyright content exacerbated online piracy making it hard for sale and distribution of copyright music and films


The fight against digital piracy has had its wins and losses. Although anti-piracy organizations have made great strides in stopping piracy, a new and rigid approach needs to counter novel digital piracy mutations. First, scholars recommend merging and utilizing technology and innovation business models to maximize legal acquisition and consumption while maintaining piracy. From this perspective, industry experts can employ these technological-integrated models to curb piracy in the traditional music, movie industries. Another critical aspect is the monopolization of new and upcoming platforms to create fair subscription services, such as the freemium packages offered by Spotify. This will bridge the gap between the hefty subscriptions and convince the public to access copyright content through the necessary channels. Scholars have also proposed the creation of legitimate file sharing sites that out-complete cyber lockers. For instance, in 2010, Google docs updated its features to accommodate file sharing in all formats making it no different from cyber lockers (Sudler 158). This serves as the first step towards enticing the public to access content through legal sites.

In conclusion, online piracy is a high-profile problem that employs rapidly advancing technologies. However, most individuals do not understand the depth and dangers of online piracy, partly due to general ignorance but mainly because few understand how the film and music industries work.  According to the US constitution, online piracy is a punishable crime. Still, most people believe it to be a victimless crime, and as a matter of fact, critics deem it selfish for people to copyright the sharing of their intellectual property. Although this argument is reasonable, the critics disregard the critical aspect that commercial, intellectual properties are a constant source of income to many artists, live streaming sites such as Spotify have made great to offer; their efforts have been futile. Therefore, it is of paramount importance for industry experts to devise technology and innovation business models to heighten the fight against digital piracy.

Works Cited

Condry, Ian. “Cultures of music piracy: An ethnographic comparison of the US and Japan.” International journal of cultural studies 7.3 (2004): 343-363.

evolving online piracy.” Business Horizons 56.2 (2017): 149-157.

Hoffman, Gary M., George T. Marcou, and Charles Murray. “Commercial piracy of intellectual

Lu, Shijie, Koushyar Rajavi, and Isaac Dinner. “The Effect of Over-the-Top Media Services on

Piracy Search: Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” Marketing Science 40.3 (2021): 548-568.

Poort, Joost, et al. “Global online piracy study.” Amsterdam Law School Research Paper 2018-21 (2018).

Sudler, Hasshi. “Effectiveness of anti-piracy technology: Finding appropriate solutions for Intellectual Property.” J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Soc’y 71 (2018): 556.


Vonderau, Patrick. “The Spotify effect: Digital distribution and financial growth.” Television & New Media 20.1 (2019): 3-19.





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