Hi-Line Survey: Majority of students favor illegal music downloading

Gage Wente/Staff Writer

Shawn Fanning, still a college student at the time, changed the music industry forever just under 10 years ago. He created the first peer-to-peer mp3 sharing website, Napster.
Although Napster’s time in the spotlight lasted only two short years, its ideas have left a mark on the Web and music industry.

Today, the availability of free mp3s might be the highest it has ever been. One can easily download a variety of programs such as LimeWire or FrostWire that will allow them access to a vast library of illegal mp3s.

While many people might think that the Recording Industry Association of America’s strict policies and a surge in recent action against illegal downloading has led to a decrease in overall music piracy, the opposite may be true.

In a survey of 10 percent of students conducted at Cedar Falls High School recently, 64 percent of sampled students admitted to downloading illegally, while only 36 percent obtained their music through legal methods. Many of the students that download their music illegally said that they rarely or never buy music and had no moral dilemma with doing so.

“I think it’s wrong, but it’s very easy to do. You just download LimeWire or something, and you can download all you want,” sophomore Claire Morris said.

“If we never pay for music, then artists won’t have the money to keep writing songs. Labels and record companies need money to sponsor artists on tours, and without CD sales that’s not going to happen.”

The survey shows that 65 percent of all illegal downloads are done through LimeWire and an additional 17 percent are done through FrostWire, which shares a network with LimeWire.
Many music enthusiasts consider Lime Wire to be the next Napster. The RIAA has made moves against LimeWire by monitoring downloads through the system and then working with local Internet companies to either shut down the user’s Internet access or to sue the offender.
“I’ve heard of a few people that have had their Internet cut for downloading stuff,” junior Michael Droste said. “They did it a lot, though.”


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