Music Piracy spells the end of the traditional model for those in the music industry to make an honest living from their talents. At least it is according to my students.
Current Events Class Guest Speaker
Today I worked with our current events class to discuss the recent shutdown of Limewire as a way to bring up music piracy and teach ethical use and copyright (kind of getting it in the backdoor, so to speak.) Here is my slide deck from the class.
Was I really trying to make my students feel like criminals today? Many readily admitted to using the p2p sites to get free music. At the end I added two more survey questions (see slide deck’s last 2 slides) to see if our discussion had changed the way they felt about the legality of participating/sharing files not purchased and under copyright. The vast majority freely admitted they would continue despite the knowledge that it was illegal and after seeing the example of someone with a hefty fine in the current news.
This model no longer works
There was one consensus among the class of twenty-nine students. The general feeling was that the music industry is an antiquated model, and organizations like the RIAA are trying to preserve a model that has been over for many years. The kids in general believe that musicians make profits from concerts and the selling of regalia related to band names, etc. All agreed they themselves happily buy t-shirts and other material, and also enjoy attending live performances, no matter the cost. It was even suggested that the artists of today are happy their content is being shared free of charge, and that it is used as a tool to raise interest in going to the concerts.
My teaching responsibility-ethical use IS a standard after all
I’m not so sure still what I accomplished today. But I do know this. Today’s group was very indifferent about the topic. The prosecution of Jammie Thomas and its discussion revealed that most do not believe she will ever pay a dime of the fine and that ultimately laws will probably be changed or done away with because of the precedent this case is setting. These students equate the theft of music to driving a car 60 mph in a 55mph zone–essentially no big deal, and for the most part everyone ignores that a law is being broken, even the authorities. So how does that explain the case against Jammie Thomas? She is just one in a gazillion who do this to these kids. They have the sense that they will never be caught. I left them with the reminder that all I asked is that they make good choices, and that as an educator I felt obligated to make them informed cybercitizens. Hope I did that–despite the admission in our informal survey that they would continue to take music freely offered, copyrighted or not. Sigh.
My current events teacher who invited me gushed over the great lesson and how much HE learned. Oh well. Sigh, again.