A Pirate's Life is NOT For Me: Legal File Sharing Options Abound (Hypertext student newsletter)

This story written by Stephanie Polizzi, a junior in English & Italian, was originally published in the Fall 2004 edition of the Hypertext quarterly student newsletter. Go to http://scg.ucdavis.edu/hypertext/2004fall/2004fall to view a downloadable PDF of the entire newsletter.

There was once a time when ye pirates could freely surf the waves of the Internet, attacking mighty ships such as AOL Time Warner and Universal Music in order to pillage rare booty like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Dave Matthews Band mp3s. But the time of overlooked piracy has long since passed. The mighty corporate vessels are attacking pirates left and right ? even those who attend UC Davis. It's time to get out of the murky water and explore legitimate file sharing options. Here is some helpful information to steer you in the right direction.

File Sharing Is Not Anonymous
Many users feel that they are safe in the anonymity of the Internet, but file sharing is actually very easy to track. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other license holders employ scanning technology that can scope out computer networks (such as UC Davis) and detect copyright infringement. This is the method used by RIAA to track down the hundreds of people they have sued in the past few years.

UC Davis Cannot Protect You From Getting Sued!
Subpoenas are often issued to Internet Service Providers (like UC Davis) in an attempt to collect copyright violators'names. If UC Davis receives such a subpoena, it will do its best to contact an individual prior to releasing identifying information, but it will respond to every lawful claim. If your computer is found to be illegally trading movies, music, etc. even if a visitor used your computer to do so, an Area Conduct Coordinator will meet with you to determine your level of responsibility. If you are found responsible , you will receive a formal warning from Student Housing and your name will be placed with Student Judicial Affairs. In the meantime, your port will be disabled, and may remain disabled for 7-10 days or more after the matter is resolved.

Try These Legal File Sharing Options, Matey!
There are plenty of ways to legally trade music, movies, and software. While they may end up costing you money, prices are usually much cheaper than purchasing whole CDs or software. At any rate, the prices are much cheaper than lawsuit settlements.

? Internet Radio: LAUNCH Music is one of many online radio stations that stream music from the genres you select as your favorites. Live365 allows you to listen to a more eclectic variety of music available through others users' playlists.
? Songs a la Carte: Many services offer individually downloadable songs for under a dollar, with Napster, iTunes Music Store, and MusicMatch usually charging 99 cents per song.
? Subscription Services: Subscription services like Rhapsody provide the option of streaming music for $9.95 per month.

? Free trials: Download.com and many other file sharing Web sites allow you to try as many programs as you like for free trial periods lasting from one to several months.

? Viewing Trailers: While the downloading of movies is illegal, Yahoo and other Web sites offer tons of downloadable movie trailers.
? Online Movie Renting: Netflix is one of many online movie rental stores. For a monthly fee, you can rent as many movies as you want and keep them however long you wish. To avoid straying into illegal waters or for more information, check out the File Sharing section of the Student Computing Guide at scg.ucdavis.edu/downloading.cfm. You can also send your file sharing questions to dmca@ucdavis.edu.