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Don't Hound Downloaders; Catch Up With Technology

September 13, 2003

My first thought when reading "Song Swappers Face the Music" and "Surprise Is a Common Reaction of Those Sued" (Sept. 9) was that the music industry has done nothing in the time following the fall of Napster in July 2001 to address digital music-file usage.

Filing lawsuits against downloaders seems like a poor solution to the problem. I guess we all have to turn off our computers now, discard our MP3 players and pretend the new technology doesn't exist -- all because the record companies can't figure out how to solve the problem and aren't about to let go of their huge profit margins.

How many times do I have to buy the same song? I bought the LP, the cassette tape and then the CD. Do I have to buy the MP3 version too? And how come when I buy a new album on CD, the old LP-length limitation (about 45 minutes) is still being used? How come new albums in general don't contain more songs than LPs did, since CDs can hold more music?

The price gouging on CDs since 1983 has had everything to do with the hunger for free downloading. If it costs $100 million to $200 million to make a blockbuster movie and roughly $22 for the DVD, how come CDs cost $17.98 retail when it costs less than $5 million to produce an album?

Daniel Guiteras

Thousand Oaks


Using subpoenaed data gleaned from Internet providers, the Recording Industry Assn. of America has sued 261 computer owners without knowing whether the individuals named ever transmitted a single message or piece of music. For the innocent, or the unaware, the cheapest way out is to acknowledge guilt and settle for a mere $2,000 or $3,000 payment to the RIAA -- with no guarantee that some other arm of the recording industry won't file a similar suit and extract a similar toll.

Use of a claim of copyright infringement in this scattergun fashion shows the way for identity thieves and stalkers to access a person's home computer. These suits suggest that the term "robbery" be appended to the "information highway." Isn't it time for meaningful tort reform?

Paul Flanagan

Costa Mesa


Those in the music industry are upset that people are using legitimate businesses to share music files. I certainly understand their feelings of being abused. However, for years people have been searching for a way to download high-quality music and have been more than willing to pay for it. Instead of lawsuits that cost money, goodwill and punish the wrong people in a household, why don't they try offering songs for 50 cents each that we can download directly from their Web sites? Users are willing to pay a fair amount of money for music.

Chelsea Shure



I don't know how anyone could claim to be unaware after all this time that music sharing on the computer is illegal. And if you don't know what your children and others are doing on your computer, you should be more than sued.

Teresa Williams

Woodland Hills

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