File sharers forge ahead

by Kari Koehler

Ripping, burning, swapping and downloading: All common terms in the world of music file sharing.

Just because Napster may be gone doesn’t mean that there aren’t other sites out there that offer free music to download. Sites such as Kazaa, Morpheus and WinMX all offer exactly what you may be looking for: Free music, no strings attached.

“After Napster was shut down, I just found somewhere else to go for music,” senior Alanah Davis.

Davis said that students really don’t have any complaints since they’re still getting their free music.

Mark Green, professor of management, said, “Arists who speak o3ut against illegal file sharing are simply asking to have their rights respected under the law. And the law is very clear: ‘Unauthorized reproduction of this recording is prohibited by federal law and subject to criminal prosecution.'”

So, in the grand scheme of things, the idea of file sharing comes down to ethics. Do you consider it stealing? It’s an answer every user probably ponders before downloading that first MP3.

You think about the outcomes that excessive downloading may lead to in the future. Independent labels will become nonexistent and artists will have to raise ticket prices and tour more to make a decent profit for themselves.

“One student recently said to me, ‘I’ve seen MTV’s “Cribs” show and these rock stars obviously have all the money they need, so what does it matter if I don’t buy their CDs?'” said Green.

A plausible argument, but not all artists live such a nice lifestyle. Hit records, endorsements galore and headlining a tour are just a few ways many stars rise to the status to appear on “Cribs.” Many artists who play bars or colleges aren’t as lucky.

They haven’t reached the status of super-stardom and all the perks that come along with it.

But, as Davis said, “Most people I know don’t download CDs. We usually just download songs.”

Though many artists and bands such as Missy Elliot and Metallica speak out against file sharing, others, such as Dashboard Confessional and Tom Petty really don’t see a problem.

They’re just glad they are getting their name out there. Bands such as Weezer even debut their album on the web before it’s been released, and yet they still have decent record sales.

Most fans of bands may download some songs, but nothing beats having the actual CD in your collection. Many bands are also successful enough to still be able to have low ticket prices.

But, know this: Though the college can’t limit file sharing between students, it does have a packet shaper, which only allows so much bandwidth to be used while students are on the Internet.

So, the choice is yours. Whether you download songs or entire CDs, it’s best to know all aspects of how file sharing affects the artists you listen to.