Monday, October 20, 2008

Steal This Blog Post

Randall Munroe, author of xkcd, said it best when he railed against the music industry’s effort to stem illegal downloading.

A new study conducted by Campus Computing Project, an organization that studies students’ use of Internet technology, shows that the mandates put on colleges and universities to stem illegal downloading (like those recently folded into the Higher Education Act reauthorization) are costing the institutions tens of thousands of dollars on average. Congress isn’t setting aside special subsidies for enforcement, so the old “unfunded mandate” adage comes to mind.

Why are we forcing universities to sink thousands of tuition dollars into protecting an industry that isn’t ready to admit it has an outdated model?

Some sellers, like iTunes and eMusic, have gone to great lengths to create a popular model that people are willing to buy into. But the problem is, as the comic above shows, they’re also going to great lengths to sell a protected format that is actually an inferior product. Many consumers reason that even though it is illegal, the product they can get for free is far superior to the one they pay to download. Rather than enforcing all this ridiculous legislation in an attempt to keep the record industry alive, we should just cut the lines and let them figure it out. Seriously, it’s sink or swim time for them.

Cross posted at Pushback.

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