Small Actions with Big Consequences: Downloading Music Illegally

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With CDs out of date, and iTunes becoming pricey, students turn to downloading music illegally off the Internet. It may not seem like a big deal, but there can be severe consequences from downloading music illegally.

“It’s easier to think that I won’t be the one to be caught,” said a source who was granted anonymity due to the illegality of the action. High school students are increasingly turning to websites such as Acquisition, Mediafire, Zamzar.

Though high school students may not be fully aware of the severity of downloading music illegally, college students are becoming more acquainted with the consequences.

As providers for the Internet server, colleges are able to monitor everyone’s use of the Internet. When caught stealing music from peers computers using an application such as Mojo, or downloading them off of sites, students can be fined, sued, and charged for all of their downloads.

“I never use iTunes because I don’t have the money to spend,” said Freja Andrews’11. Like Andrews, many people are unwilling to spend money on individual songs. Taylor Boone ’11 explained that if it’s available, she’ll download a song illegally rather than buy it on iTunes.

This relates directly to the battle iTunes and the music industry are fighting. Limewire, after a legal battle, has finally been shutdown. Limewire gave millions of people access to copyrighted songs for free.

If people were unwilling to pay $0.99 for an individual song before, than the new iTunes pricing may push students even further away from legal purchases and towards illegal downloads. For every one song selling for $1.29, iTunes has agreed to charge only $0.69 for ten songs.

“I usually download foreign music…I can’t get [the songs] on iTunes,” said Luke Paschal’13. The websites provide a plethora of music, not always available for download on iTunes. Another anonymous source said that she could get remixes on the websites.

Students download different amounts of music, one student revealed having illegally downloaded 32,000 songs, while Boone has only downloaded 150 songs. Whether students are music fanatics and download songs in the masses, unable to spend the money, or finding remixes and songs not available on iTunes, the illegal downloading of music is a serious problem. College students are more frequently getting caught.

Like Andrews said, “I need music.” Students downloading music illegally enter the mindset that they won’t be the ones caught, but the battle between the music industry and these illegal websites continues, and many students need to be more aware of the possible consequences.