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Why Can’t the Music Industry Stop Illegal Downloads?

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  1. The RIAA is a music industry trade group that represents the interests of major record labels
  2. The RIAA's key audience is the American consumer
  3. In April of 2006, one California state assemblyman, Ed Chavez backed by the RIAA and Motion Picture Industry of America (MPAA) went so far as to propose a bill forcing students to learn about the evils of file sharing in school
  4. Executive VP of the RIAA goes so far in an April 11, 2007 press release as to claim that this latest round of threats and lawsuits has, in his words, ?invigorated a meaningful conversation on college campuses about music theft, its consequences and the numerous ways to enjoy legal music?
  5. Sherman has a valid point. These people are violating US copyright law.
  6. In my opinion, the RIAA fails miserably at appealing to consumers.

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. [...]

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