Yesterday at our departmental town hall meeting, our dean raised a question on downloading illegal files (MP3 for instance). Recently the music industry is bringing a lawsuit against the university on its lack of control on students’ illegal activity from the Internet. Several hundreds of students were caught with possession of illegal files in their computer. Certainly the university has declared specific policies against downloading illegal files on the student handbook. But should the university be more strict about this issue? Should we become the industry’s legal watch dog, punish the students severely and limit student’s Internet access? Or should the school treats this issue as a cultural transition? Internet download is an unavoidable activity in the rapid technological developed world today. Perhaps the school should react differently and instead, placed itself on the edge of anew cultural era. Our dean wants us to think about this issue and give him some perspectives.
As an owner of many MP3 files and a big music-lover, my response to this question would be : the heck with those money-sucking music corporations. Music (or any other artistic creations) is created for people to enjoy. It’s subjective to each individual and it’s hard to put a value on an artistic work. When the native Indians chanting their ceremonial songs or the African tribes dancing to their victory tunes, they did not think about how much profit they would make out of the songs they created. They were simply expressing their emotions through their creativity. I feel that in our capitalist world today, the major corporations have corrupted the original purpose of having artistic creations. Besides with the popularity of the Internet these days, it’s not very likely to catchall the illegal downloading activities. So why not take this issue from a different perspectives, thinking of other options to accommodate the new change to encourage more people to appreciate the beauty of art/music?