University needs to grow a spine and tell off the RIAA

By Daniel Turner

We all received a MASSMAIL this past Saturday which warned students to stop downloading and sharing files or face consequences from both the University and possibly the RIAA. The RIAA is a group which “represents” the recording industry of America. I spent half a semester of SPCM 111 researching file sharing for my final project, finding out new stories of the RIAA bullying college kids every day. First of all, the University has to allow the RIAA access to IP addresses of alleged file sharers; they are not bound by any sort of law that requires them to give this information to the RIAA – so why are they doing it? The RIAA has been suing students ever since the days of Napster, sending them letters offering the offender the ability to settle for a large sum of money or face court action. The letter suggests “using MasterCard, Visa or Discover to pay your fines.” According to an article from The Associated Press, one student received a letter demanding $590,000 in payment. What kind of person, nevertheless a college student, would be able to afford this kind of burden? The fact that they send e-mails which basically say “pay or get sued,” shows that they are nothing but bullies with letterheads. Although I realize that downloading 4GB’s of “The Office” puts some strain on the network, I also realize that we’re the ones paying for the bandwidth and the archaic blue boxes and Ethernet cables. Downloading music does not mean that music sales will decline. In a survey by the Harvard School of Business the researchers “just couldn’t document a negative relationship between file sharing and music sales.” The RIAA didn’t want to listen to this because it went against everything they had been vehemently fighting for and “has rejected the study’s findings.” U of I needs to stop threatening its own students and enabling the RIAA to sue us for hundreds of dollars per song and try diverting the effort into something more useful.

Daniel Turner

Freshman in ACES