The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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RIAA sends out letters

It’s business as usual in the music industry’s campaign against piracy. Perceived as the biggest abusers of digital theft, a two-pronged attack has been issued against college students around the country with a less-than-popular reception.

The Recording Industry Association of America has sent a total of 407 pre-litigation settlement letters to 18 schools. These letters suggest evidence of digital theft and copyright infringement on college campus computer networks. While no letters have been issued to CSUN students, 26 letters have been sent to the neighboring University of California Los Angeles campus and 25 to California State University Monterey Bay.

Additionally, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007, while mostly a bill that simply revitalizes present legislation about federal financial aid, does include a section that charges college campuses to “develop a plan offering alternatives to illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property as well as a plan to explore technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.”

“I don’t see what they can implement,” said an Apple employee and CSUN student who preferred to stay anonymous in light of any possible litigation. “There is a way around any filter or block you can put up. It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money to even try to regulate such a thing.”

And while the contents of his iPod remain as anonymous as him, the Apple employee did note that on the average, he would expect anywhere from 60 percent to 90 percent of the music on a typical college student’s iPod to have been downloaded illegally.

“They can’t expect students to purchase music through the school, if that’s what they’re planning, when such a large majority of consumers insist on simply not paying for it,” he said.

Recent transfer student from Los Angeles Pierce College to CSUN, Jessica Daas, 21, a music enthusiast who would like to pursue its study for her major, is unhappy to see the colleges’ hand being forced.

“It isn’t the responsibility of any college to regulate this sort of thing,” she said.

Daas guessed that the money spent on these deterrents to digital theft, could be more efficiently appropriated to improve the quality of the education the students received at any given campus.

But it isn’t only the students who see fault in this seemingly fruitless attempt to deter the illegal acquisition of intellectual properties, music in particular.

“Digital delivery systems change everything,” said journalism professor Sally Turner. “The music industry didn’t recognize soon enough that this was happening.”

Turner explained that, while the music industry in itself is hard to predict in many ways, most students today acquire their music free of charge. It isn’t so much a desire or need to steal, as it is simply the way they listen to their music.

“The middle man is being cut out,” she said. “Live music and concerts-that is where the real profits are coming from. The music industry needs to embrace the exposure of their music. There is a lot of money to be made in merchandise.”

That’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the eyes of the college students. From the tech-adept to the musically inclined, live concerts are something that simply can’t be replaced with a download, illegal or not.

For CSUN, at least for now, there doesn’t appear to be any pre-litigation and no widely advertised deterrents of illegal downloading are evident.

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