Downloading Disaster: Fees for file sharing

By Staff Writer
April 24, 2003

The days of Napster are gone. Now you might be the next target.

Recently in March, the Recording Industry Association of America sent out letters to U.S. colleges. The letters were to let them know what students were using college computers to share MP3s on sites like Kazaa and Morpheus. Get the message?

File sharing can now cost you your job and also a large fines. Copyright owners like the record labels can collect damages of $750 to $150,000 per song. The industry also wants to see offenders serve up to five years jail time, but the RIAA is hoping that the corporations prevent file sharing before individuals are prosecuted. They are saying that downloading copyrighted files, “is not ‘sharing’, it’s theft.”

Congress has even been urging Attorney General John Ashcroft to prosecute anyone who distributes files on entertainment to peer-to-peer services. Rep. John Carter said that the only way to stop this was to start sending people to jail. It can happen.

In January, the labels won against Verizon to get the name and address of someone who used their account to trade MP3s. Verizon appealed but they are not likely to win because of the RIAA. Twenty-eight percent of all Americans have downloaded music files. This subject is difficult because there is no control of what people do on the Internet. The matter will keep being pressed on by the RIAA until file sharing starts being paid for so that the businesses can succeed.

Before Linkin Park’s CD Meteora hit the shelves of music stores worldwide, they took any kind of measure to make sure nothing leaked out. When it was being mastered, there were security guards in the studio twenty-four hours. Even earlier CD versions were destroyed once all the final tracks were finished. 50 Cent’s new album was rushed out early because it got out on the Internet.

Not all the bands are significantly worried though. Some bands believe that file sharing over the Internet can help increase their record sales.

The next to be under attack will be Kazaa. Kazaa faces even more issues besides music file swapping. Not only can you download music, you can also download movies and episodes of shows. Sophomore Cecelia Francisco says, “I still download music but I still go out and buy the albums and movies.” The music industry and film industry are watching their products being pirated over the Internet. There’s been a lot of focus on MP3 file sharing. Now, with services that can allow users to download movies and use DVD burners, the film industry is being a witness to what the music industry has already seen. To this day, college students are downloading things from services such as these on the Internet.

The Internet crackdown will soon bring things to a halt.

Posted to the web by Paul Williams

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