Can't wait for the new Jay Z album to go on sale to get your own copy? Don't want to shell out $19.99 (plus tax!) for the latest Modest Mouse record? For those growing up in the Internet generation, these hurdles are trivial. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing has made acquiring media online remarkably easy. At the same time, this technology has managed to spawn a deep hatred of the recording industry in the hearts of many consumers. Lawsuits, threats, and invasive software on CDs seem to be the norm, all brought to us courtesy of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It is important to understand the RIAA's actions in the digital age, but it is also important to understand the motives behind them, and why all of these appeals seem to fall on deaf ears.
[...] This time, Sherman framed it in a less hostile manner: “Given that an epidemic of illegal downloading is threatening the livelihoods of artists, songwriters and tens of thousands of other recording industry workers who bring music to the public, we look forward to Verizon's speedy compliance with this ruling” Court of Appeals”). This is an approach that the average consumer might be more sympathetic to. There is no mention of big companies and the money they might be missing out on; instead, we're alerted to the presumed plight of ordinary, hard-working music industry folk. [...]
[...] Marks continues—rather pedantically—to say, question we ask of students is this: with high-quality legal music options available for free or deeply discounted, why take the twin risks of exposing your computer to viruses or spyware by downloading from an illegal site or exposing yourself to a costly lawsuit?” (Ibid). As a college student, I am rather insulted by these statements. For one thing, I do not believe that any statements the RIAA issues really spawn constructive discussion. When news stories get issued about lawsuits, I do not normally hear students discussing the economic or legal ramifications about illegal downloading. [...]
[...] Therefore, it is imperative that the RIAA not only keeps consumers interested in music, but also that it keeps consumers from wanting to acquire the music freely and illegally. At least for the sake of public image, consumers are the most important audience that the RIAA has. If a consumer clicks on the “Legal Cases” sidebar on the press section of the RIAA's homepage, they will be greeted with the following message: of the RIAA's key missions is to help foster a legal climate that protects the rights of record companies, artists and copyright owners in general. [...]
[...] Would stronger appeals halt illegal downloads and music piracy once and for all? It is highly unlikely. However, better communication could win over some converts. More sympathetic communication might calm some of the ire that many consumers feel for the organization. Works Cited “Campus Music Theft Gets Congressional Spotlight.” Recording Industry Association of America March 2007. Recording Industry Association of America April 2007.
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