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Movie lovers beware: Hollywood is watching RIT Miscellaneous

Coming to a theater…make that a PC….near you.

First, RIT students were making national headlines when the Recording Industry Association of America cracked down on students who were illegally downloading audio files. Now the Motion Picture Association of America is getting tougher with college students in copyright infringement cases.

RIT was just ranked 8th nationally by the MPAA for its “piracy dishonor role.” According to the MPAA, RIT has recently received 792 copyright infringement notices. Both local and national media are reporting on the latest MPAA warning.

RIT receives a significant number of “take down” notices weekly from both the RIAA and the MPAA. Those notices are then forwarded to the offending students. And those who do not comply do face legal action. Several RIT students in the past have had to make restitution by paying back hefty fines.

RIT has been offering a service from Cdigix for downloading music. But it is apparent the current business model isn’t working for Cdigix and they will soon stop doing business at RIT. RIT is evaluating next steps, including whether or not we should look for an alternative online music service.

So what is next? Music and movie companies deserve to make some money. You need cash to pay these stars and finance big productions. RIT wants to abide by the law, as well as protect its students. A younger generation does not see itself doing anything out of the norm with the downloading…. Does anyone see a business model that would satisfy all parties?

  1. RIT Highly Rank
    Apr 03

    [...] 2nd, 2007 · No Comments I just read Bob Finnerty’s latest blog post, “Movie lovers beware: Hollywood iswatching RIT.” Apparently, students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are some of the biggest pirates of movies, according to the MPAA. I wasn’t surprised. [...]

  2. John Follaco
    Apr 03

    This is an interesting topic—one that has been around for a long time. Honestly, I think that both Hollywood and law enforcement have to focus on stopping this problem at the source. As long as movies are available to be downloaded online, people will download them (and, by the way, it's not just college students who do this). If you decrease the availability, you'll decrease the crime. I don't see anything else, short of the college paying for a top-flight music and movie download service, stopping this problem.

  3. Justin Thorp
    Apr 04

    John, do you really think you can cut it off at the source? This is the *World Wide* Web. If things ever got shut down in the US, I'd just move to another country that doesn't have the strict intellectual property laws. I think the real answer is for movie studios to not see P2P networks as evil but as a tool to get their movie out into the public arena. Technology and users have changed the ball game but movie studios still demand the use of the older business model.

  4. Justin Thorp
    Apr 04

    In my previous comment, I'm not saying that I pirate music/movies because I don't. I was just giving a hypothetical.

  5. John Follaco
    Apr 05

    Good points, Justin. I guess it's nice to see that it's not just the news media that is grappling with the changes that have been brought on by the Internet.

  6. Mike Saffran
    Apr 09

    Bob and Justin both make incisive points. As Bob says, music and movie companies deserve to reap rewards from their investments. But, as Justin points out, both are stuck in outmoded business models.

    Regarding song swapping, I believe record companies need to completely reassess the value of songs—viewing them not as commodities but, rather, as promotional tools: three-minute commercials for the band, concerts, T-shirts and other band-related merchandise . . . and, yes, even for CDs, which have certain value beyond the songs themselves, including CD cases, high-quality graphics, liner notes and lyrics, and—possibly most valuable—user-friendliness (no downloading or burning required).

    Here’s one way of looking at it: This summer, the top 10 “American Idol” contestants will go on tour. How popular do you think those concerts would be without the promotional value afforded by the free, weekly TV show? The show indirectly promotes concert ticket sales and, no doubt, sundry “AI” paraphernalia (probably including CDs) that’ll be sold at concerts.

    For years, radio stations have paid simple licensing fees (not royalties) to legally broadcast songs. Why? Because record promoters believe radio airplay promotes record sales. (Indeed, some song promoters have gone so far as to pay radio stations to play certain songs—the illegal practice of payola.) But when it comes to the Web, they seem to want fewer ears listening through demands for royalties from Internet radio stations and lawsuits brought against file sharers (a.k.a. potential customers). It’s truly mind-boggling.

    A couple asides: the RIAA has begun sending letters to offenders offering out-of-court settlements. It seems it’s cheaper for the RIAA to settle out of court. But should colleges comply with requests to forward letters to offending students?

    Regarding Cdigix, because its song-buying feature was not Mac compatible, it may have been the wrong choice for RIT in the first place.

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