The NY Times reports the RIAA is losing the morality battle among the Youth of Today, or at least this segment thereof. Remember, over time perception IS reality:
- IT shouldn’t be illegal,” said 14-year-old Sonya Arndt. “It’s not like I’m selling it.”
“Isn’t it like recording movies?” asked Korbi Blanchard, 13. “They’re making a big thing out of nothing.”
“It’s wrong to be downloading hundreds of songs, but if you only want one or two, it’s not that big a deal,” said 13-year-old Kristina Lee.
When the record industry’s campaign against digital file-sharing yielded lawsuits on Sept. 8 against 261 people – at least one as young as 12 – it struck home with students at Foothill Middle School as news events seldom do.
Almost all of the 1,100 students at the school, in this suburb 25 miles east of San Francisco, have Internet-connected computers at home. And their musical tastes, like those of teenagers before them, are strongly held – Linkin Park, 50 Cent, Good Charlotte – as are their views of right, wrong and fairness.
So Valerie Kriger, a Foothill teacher, chose music downloading as her Friday current events topic.
Later that day, two of Ms. Kriger’s classes – her yearbook class, with seventh and eighth graders, and her social studies and English students, all eighth graders – spent their class time sharing their thoughts on the subject with a reporter. In all, nearly 50 students wanted to weigh in with their opinions.
And those opinions came out in a flood. Virtually everyone wanted to express some indignation at the recording industry, mixed with no small amount of confusion over the legal issues….
Indignation, confusion, why do we have all these cool tools if we aren’t supposed to use them? Yes, the RIAA got the nation’s attention with their campaign of legal retrubution, but the attention is not breeding cowed compliance as they had wished.
Another NY Times story states it even more strongly:
- The sweeping legal campaign appears to be educating some file swappers who did not think they were breaking the law and scaring some of those who did. But the barrage of lawsuits has also highlighted a stark break between the legal status of file sharing in the United States and the apparent cultural consensus on its morality.
….The persistent lack of guilt over online copying suggests that the record industry’s antipiracy campaign, billed as a last-ditch effort to reverse a protracted sales slump, is only the beginning of the difficult process of persuading large numbers of people to buy music again.
….The record industry argues that sharing songs online is just like stealing a CD from a record store. But to many Americans, file sharing seems more like taping a song off a radio. The truth, copyright experts say, may lie somewhere between.
And instead of significantly damping enthusiasm for file sharing, the record industry’s lawsuits appear to be spurring increasingly sharp debates about how the balance between the rights of copyright holders and those of copyright users should be redefined for a digital age.
….But the file-sharing trend, which includes many school-age people, has spread across nearly every demographic group, with 27 percent of Internet users between the ages of 30 and 49 involved, according to a survey released in July by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Even 12 percent of those over the age of 50 participate in file sharing, the survey found.