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10 Opinion 12/17/09

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Illegal Downloads Change Music Business People should consider the consequences before they download music illegally by Dani Vignos

the music industry expects people to purchase their music, they cannot charge $1.29 for a song. “I don’t care about the artists. They are rollin’ in dough. They are all caked up,” said senior Tyler Townsend. “It’s free and on Limewire you can get songs that aren’t published on iTunes,” said junior Isabelle Shapiro. If the average student has about 5,000 songs on their music library and spent $1.29 on every single song, this

As the world rapidly advances, the music business is slowly being unraveled and driven to oblivion. This change is inevitable, but has been severely hastened because of increased illegal music downloading since the Shawn Fanning Napster case in 2002. In this case, Fanning, the creator of Napster, was sued by multiple artists for freely downloading their music. While some advocates fight to maintain the traditional industry, there is no clear-cut solution to this growing problem. Despite the Recording Industry Associations of America’s (RIAA) lawsuits, the music industry has already changed. No one will ever sell as many records as Michael Jackson’s “Killer” 1982 or AC/ DC’s “Back in Black” 1980. Since the invention of online music databases, including legal sources like iTunes, the music industry has irrevocably changed. People no longer buy a whole album, but rather buy individual songs; they count number of songs in a library rather than the number of CDs on a shelf. Of 180 Miramonte students polled, 96 students admitted to using illegal sources to download their music, which is roughly 53% of students. This splits the Miramonte population nearly in half on the practice of illegal downloading. Students understand that the sources are illegal; they just don’t seem to care or understand the severity of the punishment if they are caught. There is no fuzzy line between illegal and legal. If you A student is torn between the decision of downloading legally or illegally. buy it, it’s legal and if you do not, it’s illegal. Sharing, swapping or borrowing files on non- adds up to $6,500. So you are either spending $6,500 if licensed internet sites or burning music on CDs and giving you choose to use legal sources or you are stealing around or selling them to friends is illegal. Despite the harmless $6,500 if you are using illegal sources. Neither option seems desirable. sounding names, they all translate to stealing. Artists also have mixed views on music downloading. Juniors Ross Andrews and Chad Zakskorn choose to use illegal sources because they “like to break the law and Shakira, an advocate for illegal downloading, told the UK are badasses.” The truth is music costs money and people Daily, “I like what’s going on because I feel closer to the don’t want to pay the high prices. iTunes recently changed fans and the people who appreciate the music...” Similarly in a different era, John Lennon said, “Music is the price of a 99-cent song to $1.29. Not only is this ridiculously high, but it makes no sense. everybody’s possession it’s only the publishers who think How can a song on a hard copy CD cost less than a song that people own it.” In today’s world, conceivably, Lenthat doesn’t involve packaging, manufacturing or distri- non would advocate the free distribution of music. This bution, but is simply purchased through the internet? If is somewhat hard to believe given the millions of albums

sold and dollars made by the Beatles. Non-mainstream artists believe illegal downloads project and publicize their music. Some artists give permission to sites such as Last FM and Pitchfork to freely distribute their music. When Radiohead released “In Rainbows” 2007, they released it online for free and instead accepted donations. They did in fact receive donations. People don’t have the intentions of stealing. They respect the artists and the music, they just don’t want pay the full price to listen to the songs. However, another group of artists believe the illegal music downloading industry’s popularity is disgusting. “Our industry must take a very strong position against the stealing of our writing and music or else those writings and music will become as cheap as the garbage in the streets,” said Stevie Wonder. A significant portion of Miramonte also feels this way. “I don’t approve of it. I know it exists and it’s hard to crack down on it but I choose not to be a part of it,” said sophomore Tamar McCollum. “I just don’t think it’s fair to the artist. You can always just listen to a song on YouTube. You don’t need to have it in your possession, so I don’t understand the need to have it in your library when it is illegal.” Senior Katharine Pearce, a proponent for legal music downloading said, “When I like a band, I want them to make money.” If you really like a song or an artist, it doesn’t seem gracious or reGraphic: S. Zulch spectful to steal their music.” Other than the moral disadvantages to illegal downloading, those who partake in this practice risk retrieving viruses onto their computers. But, far worse, they face the specter of a lawsuit costing up to hundreds of thousands of dollars such as Shawn Fanning’s. It doesn’t feel like stealing if you take it over a wire in a digital format. That is, there is nothing tangible like a candy bar taken from a grocery store but rather a somewhat magical receiving and replaying of a song in a digital format. There is nothing to touch, only the sound to embrace. As the illegal music downloading industry continues to flourish, the debate goes on and a solution will hopefully be adopted.

Chimpanzees: Cuddly Pals or Vicious Killers? by Megan Freeman Chimpanzees are humans’ closest relatives. They act like us, they look like us—some people more than others—their DNA is almost 98 percent similar to ours. Unfortunately, that means that chimps, like humans, can inherit the psycho killer gene and go stark raving mad. Still, somehow, people seem to enjoy keeping these wild animals as pets. That never ends well. Take Sandra Herold for example, a 70-year-old Connecticut woman who adopted her pet chimp Travis from a chimp sanctuary in Festus, Missouri when he was only three days old. She treated him like a son: dressed him up, took baths with him, slept in the same bed, let him use the computer and TV. She even let him drive the car sometimes. Travis’s usually docile behavior took a turn for the worse when he bit a woman’s hand in 1996. The community forgave him though, and the episode was quickly forgotten. In 2003, Travis caused a more memorable incident when riding in the backseat of his car. Something flew through the window and hit him in the face. Enraged, the chimp unbuckled his seatbelt, jumped out the door and tore across the intersection in search of what hit him. Police arrived and took several hours to recapture the deranged monkey.

Graphic: L. Williams

Pet chimps are capable of attacking at any moment, any day.

Neighbors became more wary of Travis after this, but they never expected what happened six years later. One afternoon in February 2009, Mrs. Herold noticed

that Travis was acting more aggressive than usual, so she fed him some prescription anti-anxiety pills called Xanax, and had him wash them down with his daily glass of wine. For some strange reason, and I can’t imagine why, stuffing him full of alcohol and medication did not calm Travis down, and he proceeded to rampage around the back yard. Herold panicked and called her friend Charla Nash to help her get Travis back in the house. Maybe it was because he was hopped up on Xanax, maybe it was the wine, or maybe he was just angry, but Travis went absolutely berserk and attacked Nash. Herold called the police who came to the scene and killed Travis to free Nash. Nobody mourned for long. Nash left the scene in an ambulance, blind, noseless, and missing both hands. On the other end of the spectrum we have everybody’s favorite monkey lady Jane Goodall, who practically lived with chimps for her entire life, and has managed to stay mostly intact. There was one incident with an aggressive chimp named Frodo who almost broke her neck, but that wasn’t her fault. The bottom line is that chimps are not suitable companions for people. They do not like wearing clothes, they do not like being put on leashes, and they do not respond well to Xanax. If you are considering a pet, how about a nice boa constrictor. Or a tiger, like that man who kept one in his New York apartment. But that’s a different story.

P. 10 Opinion  

by Megan Freeman by Dani Vignos A student is torn between the decision of downloading legally or illegally. Neighbors became more wary of Tr...

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