Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

Summary: I think the vast majority of people aren't too concerned about the inconsistencies, confusion and misunderstood legalities of sharing, trading and even possession of music tracks. But it does seem to be a growing problem, as a news reports suggest.


ipodhandcuffed.pngI think the vast majority of people aren't too concerned about the inconsistencies, confusion and misunderstood legalities of sharing, trading and even possession of music tracks. But it does seem to be a growing problem, as a news reports suggest.

Many university networks appear limited to some extent, to enable fair usage amongst all students. Some larger universities may have a single 1GB bandwidth line yet distribute it evenly to allow only ISDN-line speeds to each student. Not only that, the servers block many file-sharing ports which support BitTorrent, Limewire, UseNeXT and suchlike, to crack down on bandwidth hoggers, but also piracy.

ipodpie.pngAccording to The Times newspaper, students have on average around 800 music files illegally held on their devices through filesharing or copying from friends. Considering that the average MP3 player or iPod holds 1,770 songs, this is just under half of the files on the device which are stored illegally.

It's fair to say, there are very, very few people who don't realise using such file-sharing websites are illegal, but this isn't the issue per se. Copying of music files appears to be the biggest issue, because there seems no harm in it. I could send an MP3 to my friend and not think anything of it, yet I've just broken the law a good few times. The Recording Industry Association of America filed over 12,000 suits against students and that was 3 years ago - God knows how many now.

I do not condone piracy, but it's getting a tad ridiculous. Sharing music amongst friends is illegal; as far as I know, by selling someone or giving someone a music CD isn't illegal, yet copying and sending it to someone is. There are too many confusing technicalities, and after searching through OPSI earlier (as that applies to me), I couldn't find anything regarding music file transfers and its legalities.

It's good to know some universities out there take this seriously, and instead of hammering down on students, they offer a much nicer solution to the problem. If, though, you've set up a web server in your dorm room and are hosting, sharing and uploading tens, hundreds, thousands or millions of files to the web for sharing, I could probably see how that's illegal, and that's not so good. But would you agree - sharing of music amongst friends should be the least of our worries?

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security

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  • RE: Sharing amongst friends

    Absolutely not!!! This is not even a gray area! If you hand someone a physical copy of a cd (book, record, movie, etc.) you can no longer play it (read it, watch it, etc.). If you hand them a copy of a digital file and you can still use the original that is theft.

    You wouldn't take a book you bought and copy every page, then give the copy to a friend. Why should it be more legal to copy something, just because it is easier?

    Full disclosure.
    I am in the software business, NOT in the music business.
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    I agree with the post above. I don't see what's so confusing about the situation. I would only hope that students know the difference between theft and actually purchasing a copy and giving it to someone (and then purchasing another copy for oneself).
    Ross Snowden
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    It is not illegal to use filesharing websites.

    It is illegal to share copy righted material, including on filesharing web sites.

    Linux is free, is it illegal for me to download Ubuntu from Limewire? Nope it is not.

    I do not condone piracy, but I want to make it clear that file sharing is not illegal in itself.
    • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

      Considering I'm a fairly average student - even this confuses me. I take your points and understand them, but I'm not a law student. I find it difficult to work out what I can give, what I can't give, what I can share, what I can download and where from - it's just mind boggling.
      • If you or

        someone has paid for any type of media you cannot share it, if it is a pormotional media where you received it for free, you cannot share it.

        If it has been copyrighted you cannot share. It is safe to assume everything is copyrighted, unless the artist/distributors say it is not.

        Linux is totally 100% free, OpenOffice is 100% free, there are many free software, videos, and music, but you have to search for them.
        • Sigh

          Ever hear of the GPL? Linux is not "free". Read the GPL and see what Tivoization and others was all about.
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    Fair enough - I'm listening, but there are roughly 7.5million students in the US and the UK alone - I can guarantee a good proportion (not including the law students) will not know the minute details of copyright law, sharing and copying media laws. How do you suggest the word gets out?
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    Well, we sure didn't learn what the legalities are here!

    The music industry has no interest in making it clearer, either. If music is software, and I'm buying a license, then I'd like the mp3s for all the records and tapes I bought over the years. And I'd like to be able to get free replacments of songs from scratched CDs. Oh, I can't have that? Then Cds are just objects, to be bought, sold, and copied at a whim? No, not that either, that's piracy...

    It's nonsense. And I love the cynicism of colleges and universities that are happy to help record companies sue students as they PROMOTE their used bookstores! Isn't giving away MP3s less illegal than selling used books for a profit?

    I'm aware of the only "legalities" that should matter. I'm allowed to make copies of my media, and I'm allowed to share those copies.

    If media companies can't make money that way, bring back analog.
  • Compilations and Mixes

    To make things a little murkier. :-)

    Back in the Day (mid '80s) I used to make my own compilation tapes and give them to friends. I had a tape player that could "see" blank spots between songs. I made a tape for my girlfriend with "love songs" and other kinds for other friends. When CD's came out, it became easier to do.

    More recently, I made a wedding DVD for my brother with songs that were played as background for a picture slide-show. I made multiple copies for family. The question is, is that illegal? All of the music was ripped from CD's I owned or legally downloaded. We've all heard the stories of video's taken down on YouTube because some 5 year old was lip singing to prince or someone else. Where do you draw the line?

    And just to add one last comment to the copyright issue, my brother did pay a license fee to the professional photographer for the pictures and videos. I just took those and added them to the pics and videos the rest of the family took.
    • What you did is illgeal ,,,,,

      Although you have purchase your CD and music legally, you have only purchased the right to use it for your own personal use (listening pleasure). You did not purchase the distribution or broadcasting right.

      If you want to send it to your friends legally, you will have to purchase a distribution license or public broadcast license.

      If you own a restaurant and you play a CD that you have bought at Best Buy for the listening pleasure of your customers, it is illegal as you do not have the public broadcast right.

      You can pay a fee for broadcasting or redistribution. It can be a one time fee or monthly fee.

      Think about the VHS tapes and DVDs that you have bought. They all stated that it is nt for public broadcasting. The same applies to music.
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    It's all about searching for some alternatives.
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    ok... if you're selling something that has ? supply, that's a horrible business model. Thas what piracy comes down to
  • RE: Students (unaware/don't care) about music legalities

    good comment about the college book stores, never thought about that one!!

    question then, do DJ's have to pay the record labels for rights to provide music? or is there a general slush fund for the broadcasting rights license? what about kareoke in a bar?

    I bought a Halo Zune 30 gig when they came out, then I heard they were making an 80gig and a 120 gig (about 1.5 months after I bought it), so I put it up on ebay. ebay cancelled the auction 3 seconds before it closed (at a huge profit for me, almost $100 over the purchase price) AND suspended my ebay account for 6 months. They said I was violating copyright laws, because I was selling it with music, video, and pictures on it.

    The only media on the device was what it originally shipped with (and I said that in the item posting) I argued with them the entire 6 months via email and phone. they never once appologized or took it back.

    how was that illegal?