Try, Try Again

Sticking with the illegal file sharing theme that seems to be dominating our class so far (and the news) … I just saw this little read this morning discussing some tactics Universities around the county are using to try and stifle the trend. At first read, its pretty vanilla, but once you start to understand the impact this is having across the country you’ll realize just how big of a deal it really is.

One of the tactics discussed is the blocking of peer to peer (p2p) services … doesn’t bode well for emerging uses of p2p technology — like Penn State’s Lion Share project. I know Mike Halm, who envisioned and heads the initiative and he is not the kind of guy who builds software to enable illegal activity. His vision is one of exchanging research and teaching materials … I am just hoping the negative press associated with p2p technologies doesn’t derail their efforts. He is one of several people who believe p2p holds the future to most of our content sharing and distribution challneges.

Take a look at that and also a quick quote from the PSU Faculty/Staff Newsletter this morning:


As the final event in its 50th anniversary celebration, local NPR affiliate station WPSU-FM will hold a public sale of the station’s entire catalog of more than 10,000 LP records. The “Final Vinyl Sale” will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, in the Penn State Armory behind Wagner Building on the University Park campus. WPSU-FM members will be granted early entry to the sale at 8 a.m. WPSU-FM is holding the “Final Vinyl Sale” to condense the station’s music collection before moving into the new Outreach Innovation Building at Penn State’s Innovation Park in 2005. Proceeds of the sale, which consists of approximately 10,000 records, will support WPSU-FM programming and operations.”

Just thought that was another, albeit unintentional, way to help end file sharing … makes file sharing look a little crazy when you consider this radio station actually had to buy, store, and care for 10,000 pieces of music … that would be one big-ass iPod! Anyway, take a look at the article and let us all know what you think should be being done–>

24 thoughts on “Try, Try Again

  1. I think music should be available online and should be legal. I mean yeah I understand that artists and record companies are mad and are losing money in the process but still. Atleast their music is still being listened to. Its not like individuals are forgetting about them. They are just not going out and buying the cd’s. Can’t blame the consumers for being smart. Buying a cd for 18 dollars or downloading for free…Hmmm, its not that tough of a decision.

  2. Nathan, tell me, when you finish with school, and move ont o the real world and get a job, would you appreciate not getting paid, doing the work for free, and being told “At least your services are still being used”. THat is pathetic. Do you think music companies produce music for the good of the world?!?!?!?!?! NO! they do it for money, and when you circumvent the money part, well, I used to think it was common sense that that was bad, but obviously some people seem to be confused and not see the bad part…

    For real man, wake up and realize that pirating music is illegal, it is a crime, it is against the law, it is no different than shoplifting. Do you think The local Uni mart owners tell shoplifters they catch “Well, at least you came to my store to steal”…

  3. Welp…obviously there are some strong opinions about this issue. However, between Nevin and Nathan, I would definitely side with Nathan.

    Yeah, the music industry is losing money and yeah they are in the business for the money, but its not like they are having a “going-out-of-business sale”.
    This may raise some hairs in the class, but I’m not sold on the view that this is illegal. Why can’t I share my music with others? Not to mention that I don’t think P2P programs are the problem. Without burners, do we think this would be an issue? I mean, how often do you actually use a cd compared to a floppy?

    However, the music companies are not going after this aspect (rightfully so) because they know they won’t succeed. I’m just saying that $18 (heading towards $20) for a CD was more than the record companies deserve for a CD that has 2 or 3 good songs on it, at best. I’m not neccessarily saying that downloading is right, but I am saying that the record companies brought this on themselves. If CD’s were $10-13 to begin with, maybe this wouldn’t be an issue!

  4. I think schools like ours should just beat us(the students) by joining us. paying 99cents for life is fine w/ me for a particular song, it beats buying an album that only has a few good songs on it. At least you can create your own cd mixes. I understand why it’s such a big deal. I believe it is wrong for people to benefit from good movies and music etc. at the click of a mouse. But there are always alternatives like the one I mentioned above.

  5. Well the deal personally with me is that I am the most frugal person alive. Anything free and I will normally take advantage of the situation. But if record companies are worried about reduced sales from me, they’ve got another thing coming, any songs that I’d download off file-sharing programs, I probably wouldn’t buy anyway. And if I really want a CD, I’ll go out and purchase it because I want the high quality that I’m not willing to waste a blank CD on poor quality recordings.
    Some people raise an interesting point saying that “they want their music to be heard, so it’s getting heard,” well I’m sure it’s happening more, and the only thing that this file sharing has done to me, is increased my love for music.

  6. I don’t agree with illegal file sharing and downloading, but I have to admitt I take advantage of free things, like downloading songs. But I do buy CDs as well, so record companies are making money from me! However, I like how Penn State has teamed up with Napster, allowing us to listen to songs for free. I think that if many other colleges and universities do the same it might help decrease this problem of illegal downloading.

  7. In response to the comment above…No when I get into the real world I wouldn’t like to be paid. But lets be realistic here, sure they are losing money, but Im sick and tired of listening to this crap about how Justin Timberlake only gets this percentage of every dollar and us downloading stuff off the net makes that percentage even less. I don’t feel bad for him, the music industry created this problem by gouging its customers for the last 10 years, at least. Every year the quality of music goes down, while the price goes up…Im not paying 20 bucks for an album with 11 crappy songs and one good song. If its your profession, then do it well, and create music people like. Don’t just shove garbage in our faces and continue to shove it down our throat until we realize we have no option (i.e that awful Brittany Spears song this summer where she tries her hardest to have a good voice, but ultimately, doesn’t). Excuse if I sound bitter, but this whole problem wasn’t created by us, it was created by the music industry who for 10’s of years, didn’t pay attention to the crappiness of its product, and ignored the changing environment. Also, it seems to be the artists who haven’t put a song out in 8 years that are leading the way in this battle. And perhaps as opposite as this may seem, I feel like in a way it is the ISP’s responsibility to block us from illegal content or committing crimes. Sure its our responsibility to be lawful citizens, but its almost in a way entrapment, to allow access to these things on our networks, and then when someone accesses it, to say “Well, its all your fault.” ISP’s know of at least some things that are illegal, so while its impossible to block everything, there are probably some things that are just blatantly obvious….and others that police find and report to ISPs. Its a sticky situation, but the bottom line is I think its stupid for Penn States Vice Provost to send us a letter once a semester telling us how illegal file sharing is and ya da yada yada, and then PSU lets us use it over their network.

  8. As everyone else has pretty much said, I take advantage of the free songs as well. Its just so easy too, and I havent really ever thought about it being wrong until reading the articles. However, I do buy cd’s and I havent downloaded any movies, I dont know if thats because i feel like a movie is so much bigger its worse to download then a song, or just because…I didnt know it was such a big deal, but since its just everywhere its just hard not too.

  9. The only time I ever participated in illegal downloading was in the first napster stage and it was only because I was too stupid to realize what I was actually doing. Ever since, I’ve paid for every piece of music I’ve downloaded. I think it is vital to stop illegal downloads and p2p networks, unless some form of compensation is given to the artist. I look at it from the standpoint, the artists need to be able to have incentive to create music. Plus, being the capitalist I am, I want them to be able to make as much as they can.

    I mean come on, if you really like the music you’re downloading and listen to it often, don’t you think it’s worth the ten bucks to get the cd?

  10. Anyone know how much money artists actually make off sales of their cd’s? Anyone know how much record companies make off sales of their cd’s?

    I have a big problem with any artist saying, “I worked hard on this record so I should be paid for it”. Last time I checked, music was an art — and I don’t know about you guys, but I prefer art that is not made in hopes to make money. Money should be looked at as simply a bonus — MTV has everyone believing that people they decide to show videos of deserve to be millionaires, inherently.

    I support my favorite artists through buying their merchandise, attending their concerts, and spreading the word about them so more people hear their music. I am confident that most artists I enjoy would feel like that is a much better way to support them than sending $9.99 to their record company, and $0.01 to them.

  11. Ryan–

    Finally someone is catching on … I like everyone’s opinion (and keep them coming), but one of the big points of all this is to get YOU all to start doing some investigative reporting (we call it research in academic settings) … go out and find the answers to your questions and educate us! Please–>

  12. I haven’t been one to download much off of file sharing programs like Kazaa or Napster but I don’t think it should be illegal either. The artists and record companies should be excited that their product is getting out into the market place one way or the other. I would really be curious to what percent has their record sales decreased since the start of file sharing programs. I think if people are fans of their music, they will buy their product. If they are curious to hear what their music sounds like, then they will download a sample. In a way, it is a great marketing technique!

    Penn State has the bandwidth issues, which can be annoying if you go over and as a result, have a slower internet for the week, but the thing I don’t get is how come RESCOM will come to your room and turn off your file sharing capabilities so your upload bandwidth stays at a minimum. I am not sure if they still do, but I know when I started at PSU they would help turn it off. That may not be the case now and they are encouraging NAPSTER but kids still can get access to file-sharing software.

    I think Georgia Tech has a good plan to just not monitor what their students do. If the students take the risk, and make the mistakes…they will pay the consequences. It will be interesting to see what will happen to all the file-sharing programs because it seems like when one gets shut down…another one just pops up!

  13. This site might be a little bit extreme on some subjects, but they offer a good balance as far as taking the opposite side of this issue, as compared to most of the articles that have been posted. You might remember hearing about this foundation back when all the lawsuits from the RIAA first started — Lots of information and links on their site >>

  14. I am guilty as well. I have been a downloader like most of you who have posted earlier. For years I have downloaded songs here and programs there. I downloaded the good songs that I really wanted because as we all know, 70 percent of the CDs are songs we don’t like or don’t listen to. I recently had a friend that was looking to put some music on his new webpage and asked me where he could get some good music. After talking to him I told him just to download something…I didn’t have what he was looking for, and come on, it’s easy to get something off the internet. Plus it was only one song and what’s wrong with that, right? Well, the music industry guys think a lot is wrong. But, I agree with Ryan on this one. I think the artists we know and love would like their music to be spread around and listened to rather than us pay the recording companies. Over the last year and a half I have downloaded next to nothing. First of all, the programs just screw with my computer and it pisses me off and second, everything I had tried to download was complete crap. I tried Napster and I tried Apple’s iTunes and really disliked my experience with both of them. I admire Penn State’s efforts as well as the other universities, but at the same time I don’t think that it is going to stop anytime soon. So now, I just don’t download because I have a ton more crap to do than just sit here and download stuff that I will listen to for a few weeks.

  15. If the record companies have more to loose than the artists, why do you mostly hear the artists complaining of lost revenue from file sharing. If it is illegal, than the appropriate parties have to police the internet. Yes in the past I have downloaded a song or two and probably will not do that anymore because of the legal problems it can cause. How in the world can you stop millions of people from downloading music illegally? The record companies want the government to step in. We all know how long that will take……

  16. I know downloading music is wrong, but as stated before it’s just too easy, and accessable. I also know a lot of other things are wrong, but since they are easy i do them regardless. I guess my moral compass is just pointed in the wrong direction, but the fact remains that downloading music is just too easy. And then there is that ever present argument of whether file sharing encourages cd buying. While this can be debated, i know personally i have been introduced, and bought the cds of many indie bands that i would not ever hear on the radio.

  17. I have downloaded and still occassionally download music. I don’t feel bad about it and I won’t until prices drop. I buy CD’s of artists that I like and that I believe the entire product is of good quality. I believe they deserve it because they give a good product that I like. Many CD’s however you might just like a couple of songs so why pay $20 for it. Seriously though, it is the music industry’s fault. The markup is ridiculous. Charge $5 for a new CD and I will stop downloading.

  18. I, too, have taken advantage of free music online. But, after getting Napster, I do it a lot less, if any. I don’t think anyone has the power to stop it, but I don’t think it’s right. Anyone will take something free over something you have to pay for. I agree that universities should begin programs like PSU did with the Napster program. I also think that will reduce a lot of the illegal downloading. It definately won’t stop all of it, but it might get a few people to stop.

  19. After reading everybodies comments I certainly have a few opinions of my own. To start I don’t believe that file sharing is right because the record companies and the musicians are losing money. Essentially, those people are working for free, especially the artists. One person said that they believe art should be done because they love art, not to make money. As a musician I agree with that. I have been playing in a band since 8th grade because I love music and I love to play. However, when my job is to play at shows and gigs to make some money, I damn well want to be paid. If you have never recorded an album then you have no idea just how much time and effort goes into it. Yes it’s fun, and yes it is an art, but you need to spend months and months creating an album. That is why it takes so long for bands to come out with new CD’s. They don’t have time to go work a normal job and record their music.

    On the other hand, “Artists” like Justin Timberlake are most likely not affected by music downloading because they make so much money off of endorsements and concerts. The musicians that are hurt are those who are trying to make a name for themselves. Those are the bands that need the $.01 per CD sale. Now, at the same time I believe that the record companies did shoot themselves in the foot by keeping CD prices so high. I for one hate spending $20 for an album. So, in a way, they created the file sharing industry.

    I recently read an article online ( that talks about how the music industry has created a new type of CD that works like vinyl records of old. These new CD’s are virtually impossible to steal the data off of them. Once those are created and used, I think that the industry should price CD’s around $10.

    As for now, I believe that Universities such as Penn State are doing the right thing. Although Napster is not the greatest it is a step in the right direction. We are able to listen to many songs for free. Pirating music does need to be dealt with because the fact is it’s illegal. I believe that each side, music industry and those who download free music, need to give in to each other and find a compromise.

    P.S. – My band is looking for a new vocalist, please check us out at

  20. Nevin, go home, take a drink, mellow out and return to the blog with a more approachable comment. Tell me. Are you a rock star? Alright then, cool out. When people start dying over this or starving over music theft then we’ll all pull our hairs out. Until then it’s just what it is. You cannot stop multitudes of people from stealing music. That’s reality and you’ll have to just step back and see the bigger picture. I would never say it’s the right thing to do but as long as there’s one person doing it there will be two, and so on. I don’t partake in illegal file sharing but once in a blue moon so I wouldn’t call myself partial to the facts (because I too would like to be a rock star). I’m just keeping it real and accepting reality. YOU SHOULD TOO.

    There’s not much to say towards a solution. I do believe that this talk of vinyl records would be the closest solution yet for the artist and record companies if they would like to remain extremely wealthy. If they note how this entire ordeal occurred and have learned valuable lessons from this entire situation the best approach for them would be to collaborate with Napster and others to find a solution where everyone can get a little something.

  21. I’ve been doing some research on the subject. The artists don’t even see most of that money. They get an average of .75 – 2% of profit from record sales. Is that really a number to fight and argue about, especially when you can hear/see the music on the radio, or MTV.

  22. To the guy in the band – You said yourself, you make your living playing gigs. Not selling CD’s. CD sales make money for the companies producing them. And to say that downloading is hurting up and coming artists is completely false. Never before have young, talented artists been so able to share their music with the entire world the way they are now. Many of my favorite artists, i never even would’ve known the bands existed if I hadn’t been told to download their stuff. And ALL of my friends will agree to this too. And i’ve traveled hours to see these bands play and bought their merchandise, and I’m positive i’m not alone when i say that. I think I have a pretty good idea of how much work goes into recording an album, and I’m not trying to downplay that at all — It truly is hard work, and artists deserve compensation for that work… But the purchase of their cd gives them .75 cents. Who is really ripping them off here, downloaders, or the record companies?

    and this vinyl cd thing is stupid.. this is yet another way for RIAA to avoid having to create a real solution, and will not slow downloading in the slightest.

  23. I think that there should be legal free music on the internet. If they just made it legal we would not have all these problems. No matter what people are going to get whatever they can for free, I mean come on a 20$ cd or the same song same quailty for free, or maybe 1$ for the blank cd you burn it on to. Honestly what would you choose I know I go with the free choice.

  24. Going back to the up and coming artists issue. The fact is, they are hurt by people not buying their album. They may not make a lot of money from direct sales of CD’s but where they do make the money is through signing bonus’s and release bonus’s from record companies. Those bonus’s come from selling a certain number of CD’s or being a band that has made it and provide a constant number of CD sales. For example, when Limp Bizkit released their first record they received a bonus of $300,000 each because the album did so well. Then the company gave them a bonus to stay with their label. CD sales still affect the money earned by artists. As far as the smaller bands getting more coverage from free downloading I do agree with that. I think that it is great. However, I still believe that people should buy their albums. Record companies look for a good following of a band before signing them. An indicator of that is CD sales. Plus, those bands make almost no money from their concerts because they usually do not headline, they are an opening act. For every big name millionare band or musician there are hundreds who are losing money.

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