So, what do I, the writer of this blog, think of the investigations and the fiasco that overtook Ohio University these last few years? Well, I decided I'd take the last post of this project to let you know.
I wanted to be able to see and present all the facts before I claimed to have any opinion, lest I seem uneducated and biased on the situation.
I have to say, I was wary of digital music from the start. I'm what anyone would consider a purist; I love buying cds not just for the music, but also for the booklet of music lyrics, thank yous, photos, and random stuff the band wants to put in for art's sake. I still know what a record (some of the older generations call them "albums") is, and I own a few Beatles LPs and 45s myself. But music has always been a major part of my life, so I had to adapt just like everyone else.
But even though I check iTunes and other digital markets for songs and albums, I have always had a strong feeling that if you truly like something, you should want the creator to benefit so they are encouraged to make more. This is especially true, since a lot of the bands I like started out underground, or, in the case of my all-time favorite band, were huge in the mainstream, then settled into the indie scene as they matured.
When the illegal downloading scandal began, not just at OU but around the country, I was one of the people that watched in awe. All these peers that had had no qualms about sharing files, knowing full well it was illegal. We all lie from time to time (understatement of the year, I know), and bend the rules, but it amazed me how blatant this was.
I can understand shaking fists at the record companies who hoard the profits and suck the fun out of music. By all means, keep doing that, fight the man and all that. But taking the recognition (and yes, the money) from the creators, even in this economy, never seemed justified to me. Sure, some of the songs that were being stolen were by "artists" that I never particularly liked, and I hardly considered them musicians, but it was their work. This means the writers and producers as well.
Not to mention I was appalled to see people stealing from some of the bands my mother cringes to see me worship. Not paying for The Beatles??? Pete Townshend (guitarist and genius from The Who) would never stand for this. With all the hemming and hawing from Axl Rose and "Chinese Democracy," you won't pay for Guns 'n Roses when they weren't a train wreck??
Eminem is one thing, but come on.
Of course I'm kidding. But if you're willing to write me a nasty comment explaining the merits and reasons Eminem will be immortal in music, shouldn't you be willing to buy the music too?
On the subject of the actions taken here at Ohio University, I agree with Aaron Baker, who felt the university had not done enough to protect its students. Many of the universities that were implicated put up much more of a fight than OU did when asked to hand over the names and IP addresses of the file-sharers. But I think OU was a little busy trying to recover and reprotect its students' Social Security numbers that it was having trouble floating under the weight of all the scandal.
Who knows if the illegal downloading will ever stop? I, for one, am pessimistic that it will ever end entirely. There will always be ways around the P2P sites and even through the locks iTunes and the record companies are putting on the songs. If you are even a little technologically savvy, there are ways around it. There's only so much systems like CopySense, Ruckus, and the others can do. In fact, the RIAA might be enlarging the wound by going after these people, because as we all know, some people take "don't do this" as "do it some more and see if you can get away with it."
I think the paid services on downloading sites like Rhapsody are a step in the right direction, but, frankly, the once rebellious and targeted Napster is now creepy in its formality and corporate approach. The days of fighting the man may be numbered with the all the "security" that checks up on us as much as it protects us.
But all of this might never have happened if the problem hadn't ballooned to the size it is now. Okay, the government would have probably figured out how to do it anyway, fine. But it is my feeling that the musicians (besides Lars Ulrich) want to be left alone and let you listen to the music as much as you want, wherever you want. Like it or not, they need money too, so they can continue avoiding a day job.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and it informed you as well. You can bet I'm going to keep looking into this situation, and what the rest of the colleges are doing. Is the RIAA going to stop searching out you evildoers? I don't think so. There will always be something to read about it.