Sunday, March 25, 2007

In the "Nobody said life was fair...." category


I got an email this weekend from one of the students whose name somehow ended up on the RIAA (recording industry) list of college students who have illegally downloaded copyrighted music.

My guess is, most of you reading this could just as easily have ended up on that list (those of you who have never, ever, ever downloaded a song from a file-sharing Web site can stop reading this right now, and I apologize for assuming guilt instead of innocence).

For the rest of you, it's time to stop and think about it.

The students who ended up on the list have a couple of hard choices: one is to pay the RIAA $3,000 in 'settlement' fees. Right now (literally in the next three weeks). In cash.

The other is to wait for the lawsuit, which could end up costing the charged students $750 per downloaded song. One student I heard from estimated that those fines could end up costing him/her more than $600,000 (OK, so not everybody has downloaded that many songs....but over the past five years? maybe so....)

The point here is this: It probably doesn't make much sense to you that you shouldn't go to limewire and other sites and pick up the music you want. You've been doing it for years. And I am absolutely convinced that the time will come when the recording industry will have to develop a new market model that eliminates this kind of public relations stunt (which is, in my opinion, exactly what this is).

But that's not where we are today.

Today, downloading music is illegal. And like all illegal activities, there are consequences when you get caught -- even if everybody you know is doing it, too.

That means you could easily find a $3,000 "settlement deal" from the RIAA in your mailbox -- just like some of your fellow Parkies did this week.

And that means it's time to take a look at the number of songs you have in your cache, multiply that number by $750, and think about what that kind of fine would mean to your plans for the future.

Is it fair that a small number of kids would be singled out for this kind of 'special treatment'?


But nobody said life -- or the RIAA -- is fair.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or maybe Ithaca College could step up with better protection of student online privacy.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

effected students should visit the following

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how much money from these lawsuits are actually going to the BANDS. Because i doubt it is much. the money is going to the studios and the government. BANDS make more money from physical merchandise and concerts. And the only way you go to a band's concert or buy there stuff is by listening to their music. Why buy a cd if you don't know what it will sound like? Once you like them, you can't download a concert or a tshirt, you have to buy it and experience it. That is what music is about, not corporations trying to get more money.

and for those who do/don't support downloading here is an interesting article about the RIAA

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've gotta agree with the person who commented about Ithaca College stepping up to protect its students privacy - While the students may not have a right to download illegal files, Ithaca College DOES have a responsibility to those students, and can, without making itself liable, give their students far more protection than is currently being given.

It was said by the Dean herself that this is unfair - Well then it's time to do something about it.

7:59 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

If you guys read the stories about the U of Wisconsin and U of Nebraska, you'll see that it's not about those institutions doing a better job protecting students' privacy.

At the UW -- which has 50,000 students -- the administration decided it would cost more to track down all of the students RIAA was interested in than it would to fight the request in court. Good news is, if the courts rule in favor of the UW, that decision could be helpful to other schools as well.

Nebraska happens to have a system that doesn't save IP addresses so it CAN'T track student downloading. But it didn't install that system to protect student privacy; it just happened to have it in place when the RIAA went calling. It's also worth noting that U Nebraska is in the process of installing a system that will make it much harder for students to download music.

Bottom line? RIAA has a legal right to subpoena student information, and the colleges - at least at this point -- have a legal obligation to provide it.

Until the system corrects itself and the industry finds another way to stay in business, it makes sense to be really thoughtful about downloading music.

Just my 2 cents.


10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps these schools did only happen to have these specific things in place - but sending the RIAA a bill for time wasted (And one that they cannot possibly believe would just be complied with) sends a very specific message, does it not?

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And while I'm a little late on this one, I'd just like to point something else out....

5:13 PM  

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