House: Recording Industry methods questionable

Downloading music files illegally from the Internet is not a foreign process to many students. However, this practice might come back to haunt 12 U students and employees.

The Recording Industry Association of America sent the U a letter May 16 claiming that music was downloaded illegally using the U’s Internet service. The recording industry requested that the U release the names of the offenders. U officials have declined to do so unless served with a subpoena. The industry is now offering alleged infringers a pre-litigation settlement.

The Chronicle understands and values copyright laws. They are an invaluable asset to any newspaper, and we take them seriously. The legality of the recording industry’s actions cannot be questioned, but something should be said about its tactics.

Illegal downloading, especially among college students, has become commonplace in the United States. As a response, the recording industry seems to be randomly selecting infringers to make examples of. The RIAA has chosen to target college campuses because there are many users centrally located.

The amount of money gleaned from these lawsuits and settlements is comparatively small for the multi-billion dollar recording industry. The goal, it seems, is to scare other illegal downloaders into changing their ways. Far from being a successful strategy, this practice hasn’t scared away copyright infringers. It has merely intimidated and alienated the recording industry’s primary market.

This form of intimidation isn’t a wise business strategy. You can only scare so many rats back onto a sinking ship. Instead of using so much time and resources to scare and coerce customers to come back, record companies would be better off finding ways to adapt to a changing industry.

Beyond failing to regain customers, these attacks are hurting the recording industry’s image. Unless the recording industry changes its methods, the market is bound to drift further away. The industry’s far -from-endearing tactics are only fanning the waves.[email protected]