Cassettes are not obsolete

By Christina Williams
October 2, 2003

Angelina Wagner

With all the hype about the RIAA filing lawsuits in reference to the downloading of music off the Internet by people, it only seems appropriate to look at other aspects of this continuing problem.

First of all, the RIAA is concerned with people stealing music off the Internet, but what about the old fashioned way via the radio? I know before Napster and Kazaa I had at least 10 blank tapes that I used to record songs off the radio with.

Cassettes work the same way as burning a CD. Mass copies can be made and sold and many songs can be recorded on one cassette. The good thing about using cassettes instead of CDs is that if I record a song and a week later I don’t like it I can erase it instantly with a new song. On the flipside the bad thing is I can’t just hit next, and I have to search for a certain song, which could involve a lot of rewinding and fast forwarding.

Due to the fact that the RIAA is monitoring the Internet so closely, what if people started buying cassette tapes to record songs off the radio again? Sure, some songs will be edited but at least listeners are getting a version of their favorite song for free.

If more people began buying blank cassette tapes and started taping songs off the radio, how would the RIAA monitor them? Isn’t taping my favorite song off the radio for free the same as going to Kazaa and downloading the same song for free?

With cassettes, people can still share music. If I tape one song off the radio and then let my friend borrow the tape and make a copy, isn’t that the same as burning a CD and then letting my friend borrow it and making his or her own copy?

Now I’m sure there are people reading this and are saying that tapes are so old fashioned and everything is electronic, but think about it; if everyone went back to using tapes and walkmans, CDs might begin to become obsolete like cassettes are now.

A solution to this Internet file-sharing problem would be for the record industry to realize that technology is the wave of the future, and therefore, need to find a way to incorporate this type of media into record sales.

This is not the first time the record industry has had to conform to the new type of music distribution. Originally records came first, then came cassettes, and then CDs. If the record industry can change from those different types of record distribution then why can’t they take one more step and go from CDs to some thing involving the Internet?

Finally, if the RIAA is passing out lawsuits to people, some who may be innocent, why doesn’t the RIAA hand out lawsuits to computer companies? So many of today’s computers come with built-in burners. In my opinion, if I get a computer that comes with a burner that tells me that burning CDs is natural if Dell is giving me a burner as a part of my computer.

I think by having computers come in with built-in burners that is only adding to the problem. Maybe that’s where the RIAA should start with the lawsuits. Instead of suing the people downloading the music they could sue the computer companies that are constructing CD burners.

If the record labels kept burners out of people’s hands then people would have all this downloaded music and no way to mass produce CDs. I think that is where the record companies are really losing their money. People are making copies of CDs that already exist and then selling them to friends. I definitely think that the RIAA needs to step back and look at this situation some more before making drastic decisions like suing mass amounts of people.

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Christina Williams

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