There are certain entertainment staples that college students find difficult to survive without: television shows, movies and music. Rather than pay for this media though, some students choose to download these things illegally, so that they can be entertained for free.
John Schlipp, Steely Library’s intellectual property librarian, said that the whole issue of internet piracy traces back to the general public’s lack of knowledge about intellectual property and copyright.
Schlipp, who has started the library’s new Intellectual Property Awareness Center, said the issue isn’t as bad as it was five years ago.
“It’s definitely improved and lessened among students,” he said. “Part of this has to do with more affordable and convenient media options, like iTunes, Amazon, Hulu and Spotify.”
David Renaker, a lead systems analyst for the IT department who receives the notices from the Recording Industry Association of America that copyright infringement has occurred on the school’s systems, said that “things are moving in the right direction.”
Renaker said that IT doesn’t directly monitor internet traffic to sites like The Pirate Bay or other popular piracy sites. Instead, they get a list of what he called “top talkers,” the websites that are being visited the most.
In the past, websites that streamed copyrighted content were atop the “top talkers” list, said Renaker. Now, he’s seeing sites like Netflix top the list instead.
Even though no one will contest the legality of downloading copyrighted materials, students don’t always agree on whether or not pirating is wrong.
Ashley Clay, a sophomore, said, “People need to start buying [media], because you’re taking away from people’s livelihoods.”
“It’s not really fair to the author,” said freshman Kristin Peak. “They’re not getting any credit for their work.”
Sophomore Pamela Dickson is on the other side, however, “I’m pro-piracy. I view it as the free sharing of information, which is good for society.”
Not all have political opinions when it comes to internet piracy, though; some people just want to be entertained.
Senior Chuck Rust said, “If something’s good, I’ll pay for it. If I just want to check something out first, I’ll pirate it.”
“I will use pirating to get something I really want,” said freshman Oscar Patmore. Patmore gave the example of the new animated movie, “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2,” released last Tuesday, which he said he would probably pirate.