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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    Come on, UA: help us help you!

    The Arizona Daily Wildcat employed a “”kitchen sink”” approach to criticism of our tactics (“”Filesharing Folly””, March 4). A response is merited.

    Perhaps our legal campaign can be equated to an interesting lesson in physics: What causes friction generates heat, and what causes heat often elicits fire. In this case, causing the friction are lawsuits for illegal downloading and the heat is the response from certain college students who prefer to spout anger at being deprived of free music. We recognize that this won’t win any popularity contests, but this last-resort step is part of a broader strategy that includes educational programs and partnering with legitimate digital services to offer music fans legal alternatives in order to curb the practice of illegal file-trafficking.

    Let’s be clear – bringing lawsuits was not our first preference, nor one taken lightly. But it became evident that after years of warnings and educational campaigns on the value of music, lawsuits were a necessary part of the equation to deter individuals from engaging in illegal file-sharing behavior.

    While there is no justification for theft regardless, let us also respond to any suggestions that the music industry has not fully embraced the digital age. There’s no doubt that the music industry is in the midst of an unprecedented and exciting transition. Those who hypothesize on the role record labels will play in the future of music only have to look around at the broad extent which pop culture is saturated with music: top video games “”Rock Band”” and “”Guitar Hero”” are based on music; music is an integral part in popular TV shows such as “”Grey’s Anatomy,”” “”American Idol”” and “”Gossip Girl”” and the ubiquitous iPod ear buds are a common accessory among commuters on college campuses, at the gym, etc. No one can question that music continues to play an essential role in the lives of people today.

    While Radiohead and Trent Reznor may generate headlines with their own methods of marketplace experimentation, the vast majority of artists can’t replicate that path and prefer to rely on the expertise of a record label in promoting, marketing and distributing their music.

    Turning to the issue of the role of universities, what is most baffling is the impervious behavior of certain schools that publicly posture under the guise of protecting students by refusing to take responsibility over their networks. Schools that do nothing to help protect their students from getting in trouble in the first place only do a disservice to those students, their parents and the campus community at large.

    A serious university policy that protects the integrity of the school’s computer network is not simply in the interest of music labels. There is ample evidence that illicit file-trafficking can damage or impair an individual’s hard drive and the university network by exposing both to harmful viruses and the potential for identity theft via spyware as well as consuming excessive amounts of a school’s bandwidth. A representative from the University of Florida recently testified at a California hearing on campus file-sharing that p2p traffic consumed more than 95 percent of the university’s bandwidth, to the detriment of students who wanted to use the networks for legitimate
    academic purposes.

    We have a positive working relationship with the higher education community and we look forward to continuing that. These are issues of mutual concern and we appreciate the positive steps that many schools have undertaken. As part of our outreach, we have developed and offered to schools who wish to meaningfully address the problem of illegal file trafficking a ‘best practices guide’ – a roadmap that provides effective steps proven to reduce instances of copyright theft on campus networks. Schools that have demonstrated sustained leadership and implemented a comprehensive approach have educated and protected their students, preserved school resources and saved taxpayers money and helped to appropriately compensate all those who have a hand in creating great music – a win for everybody who is a music fan.

    Cara Duckworth
    Director of Communications
    Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

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