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File Sharing: Illegal or Sign of the Times

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By Corey A. Washingtion

So, you’ve downloaded music ... illegally!

Maybe you’ve got one song, or maybe you’ve got pirated music oozing out of Kazaa into your hard drive.

Whatever the case is, it’s still stolen.

But you’ve also got a few choices before the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) comes banging down your door with a warrant.

Pop quiz, hotshot. What will you do?

A. Delete the files and solemnly swear never to do it again (wink wink).

B. Plan on blaming your nemesis for violating copyright laws with your computer or ...

C. Continue walking down your path towards eternal, musical damnation administered by the RIAA.

I can’t make any choices for you, but I am a bit of a menace.

I’ll choose “C” for copyright violations!

There’s no doubt something is wrong here, but illegally downloading music does not make you a petty thief — all contrary to how the RIAA paints their ugly picture.

I haven’t seen so much finger-pointing since greasy politicians soley faulted Gray Davis for the state’s sour finances.

So what if the RIAA gets some poor, remorseful teenage girl to lead their advertising initiative on Super Bowl Sunday.

I sincerely hope Janet Jackson’s bare breast distracted T.V. viewers and erased all memory of their commercialized scare tactic.

To show they have no intention of giving up, as of March 23, legal action was sought against 532 illegal file sharers.

The RIAA can ransack one of Kazaa’s corporate offices (similar to it’s fellow association in Australia) and nothing will REALLY change.

In fact, go ahead, send out another few hundred warrants. The reality is, there aren’t enough warrants and subpoenas in the U.S. that can stop illegal file-sharing.

The real problem with this situation (and why I can’t advocate the RIAA dirty work) is because few choices have been presented to file sharers. No one is meeting downloaders halfway.

This is the digital age.

If there aren’t any affordable alternatives to obtaining the musical selection users groove to, then why wouldn’t someone use a peer-to-peer network?

It’s a bit late, but some services, like the newly-resurrected Napster, offers consumers a clean opportunity to download music files for a relatively-small price per song.

Hell, even Wal-Mart is getting with the times since releasing their Online music store less than 2 weeks ago.

You, the illegal downloader, spawn of the digital devil, are at fault (in the RIAA’s eyes) as the sole reason music stores like Tower Records and Sam Goody have met their individual demises.

But let me assure you, that isn’t even half of the case.

Competition from discount retailers like Wal-Mart tipped the playing field. Music stores such as Wherehouse Music, which also filed for bankruptcy last year, helped dig their own graves by not expanding into Online distribution.

This whole situation seems pretty ironic to me; with all the threats the RIAA is throwing out, you’ve got to wonder who’s the real tyrant?

For feedback, send your e-mails to tekreporter@yahoo.com or log onto www.coreywashington.com.

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