Friday, October 31, 2008

iTunes prices on the rise?

I was asked about iTunes in one of my comments on the first entry, so I thought I'd post this article about iTunes potentially raising their prices. I think this will have a major effect on music piracy, even with the RIAA litigations still ongoing throughout the country. This plus the economy does not spell happiness for the music industry, which is already flailing under monetary struggles.
Here's the link to the CNN article, for those that are interested. It's from 2005, but the discussions are still ongoing today, and this is a good overview of what is happening now as well as then.

Monday, October 27, 2008

RIAA Then and Now

In the days when there is a decline in almost everything because of the economy, the music industry is feeling the heat as well. With an increase in the price of cds and the burgeoning technology readily available to college students like me, there is the temptation to go somewhere else for our musical needs. Some of these places weren’t exactly legal places to go either.

Logo copyright Ohio University

As a student of Ohio University and an avid music fan, I followed the controversy that riddled our campus in 2006 and 2007, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing record companies worldwide, began investigations, sending out waves of pre-lawsuit letters that were to be forwarded to the student by the school for the more the 1200 notices of music piracy. In this way, a student “can settle the record company claims against him or her at a discounted rate before the lawsuit is ever filed,” according to RIAA documents. In the initial wave of letters, Ohio University was sent 50 letters, the most of the 22 universities in the investigation. The RIAA’s “deterrence and education” initiative is further explained by the RIAA website.
If the students did not respond to the pre-litigation letters, lawsuits were filed.
During this time, the university attempted to stem the problem with new technology and tougher rules. In August of 2007 they introduced the music downloading service Ruckus, which did infinitely better than the previous university-contracted music service, Ctrax. As of September of that year, more than 4700 OU students registered for the service.
OU also added CopySense, a program which controls peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, to their network. According to Audible Magic, the producers of CopySense, it can “identify and block illegal sharing of copyrighted files while allowing other legitimate P2P uses to continue.”
There have been some strong opinions of both services, but I found a particularly interesting blog that shows how the system works, albeit through a clearly biased opinion against the system. Nevertheless, it does a good job of explaining the system. It also mentions Ohio University’s use of it.
After sending out litigation letters and introducing new technology, Ohio University quickly fell down the rankings of RIAA music sharing complaints. Things seemed to have calmed down, but what happened in the long-term as a result of those lawsuits and the barrage of negative attention for Ohio University?
That is what I intend to find out in this blog. I will report on those that were sent the litigation letters and give an objective perspective into what they went through as a result of these litigations, such as how it affected their life as a student and their future. I will also report on life at OU since the RIAA scandal, and hopefully give a small view of where digital music is headed in the future, and how the students here feel about it since the fear of litigation.
In my research for this entry and for future references, I will use local media sources, such as the Athens News and the independent, student-run newspaper The Post. I work as a Music Critic for The Post, however the RIAA investigations were researched by a different department, so I had no involvement in the stories that I will list here. I feel the local papers will be the best to convey the effect of the scandal, more than the much broader view of the national media.

Sources used in this post:
"The RIAA One Year Later"
“RIAA Shifts Attention from OU to Ohio State”
“OU takes drastic action to nip file-sharing in the bud”
“OU student body drops far down RIAA list of accused music pirates”