College students vs. the recording industry

College students across the country are under attack: by the music industry. Through students’ computers, they are sneaking in to each one ready to nail them the second they click, “download song.”

Recording companies have been sending out thousands of complaints to top universities regarding illegal downloading of music on college campuses, according to a story by the Associated Press. Several schools, including Ohio and Purdue Universities, have received more than 1,000 complaints accusing individual students of downloading since last fall.

Illegal downloading programs like Limewire allow users to download shared music files from other people without having to pay for it.

Punishments for students at these universities include e-mail warnings to semester-long suspensions from classes, according to the article.

“They’re trying to make a statement,” Randall Hall, who polices computers at Michigan State University, stated in the article. Hall meets personally with students who are caught twice and makes them watch an anti-piracy DVD produced by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“I get the whole spectrum of excuses,” Hall stated. “The most common answer I get is,”‘All my friends are doing this. Why did I get caught?'”

RIAA gave the AP the top five schools for illegal downloading. Those schools are Ohio, Purdue, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Tennessee and the University of South Carolina. The RIAA complained about almost 15,000 students at 25 different universities this school year, nearly triple the number from the previous school year.

“It’s something we feel we have to do,” RIAA President Cary Sherman said in the article. “We have to let people know that if they engage in this activity, they are not anonymous.”

Rychard Cooper, instructor for the Odyssey course in the music department at Cal State Long Beach, teaches students about what is and is not ethical in the digital realm.

“My class is about digital ethics,” Cooper said. “I think targeting college students is reprehensible behavior and the RIAA is a huge polluted bureaucracy.”

Cooper went on to explain the risks for students on campus and his thoughts on whether it is right for students to download.

“I really doubt students could do any downloading at Cal State Long Beach due to the massive firewall we have. They won’t get past it,” he said. “Illegal downloading is not exactly ethical, but it’s the best option to destroy the record industry and save music.”

Sophomore nutrition major Marilyn Perez shared her thoughts on downloading.

“I get burned CDs from friends,” Perez said. “It’s wrong of the record industry to attack college students because we all get taken advantage of. College students work and don’t get paid what we should, so this is kind of like payback.”

Rema Ruiz, a freshman communications major, gave an example of the dangers of downloading.

“My friend’s little sister got sued for using Limewire,” Ruiz said. “But I think the record industry is wrong because downloading opens bands up to a broader group of people.”

“I do it all the time,” said sophomore nursing major Julius Bravo. “I get files mostly from other people, but I think if they’re going to attack college students they should attack everyone else, too.”

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