Time to stop illegal downloading

Stop downloading music, movies and software illegally.

That is all that really needs said about the issue of illegal downloading. But, apparently, that’s not enough for some Kent State students.

According to a Nov. 9 Daily Kent Stater article, the university has received almost 200 notices of copyright infringement this semester — up from 119 last year.

Scott Weitzenhoffer, lead IT user support analyst, attributes the large number of notices to two things: Students come to college with more knowledge of how to download, while other students may not be aware they’re doing anything illegal.

When a student is caught illegally downloading, the university is notified by the copyright holder, and subsequently blocks the student’s Internet access. The student must then remove the illegally owned content and disable the sharing of copyrighted materials. The process, a minor headache for the university, takes anywhere from one to four weeks.

But saving Kent State a few headaches shouldn’t be the only motive to stop downloading illegal files.

It’s illegal.

If caught, you will be tried in a federal court.

That’s a big deal.

More than that, there are no more excuses to download music illegally.

Old excuses: CDs are too expensive; only three of the songs are worth owning; not sure what the band sounds like.

Old excuses debunked: CDs aren’t that expensive, and complete albums are available on iTunes for $9.99; you can download one song at a time; songs are available to sample on a number of Web sites, including Amazon.com or even MySpace.

If you have an aversion to everything Apple, Microsoft’s Zune was released today. The cool thing about that? You can share music with other Zune owners. Each song borrowed can be played up to three times on the device before it is deleted. If you like the song, then just buy it for 99 cents.

Want to listen to bands or artists similar to the ones you already like? Download MusicMatch Jukebox, where you can type in groups you like and either listen to tracks by them or by other similar artists. For $4.99 a month, MusicMatch gives its users access to about 900,000 songs.

And there are countless other ways people can find to legally, and cheaply, download or sample music.

If you like what you hear, lay down the whopping 99 cents per song, or $10 per album, and listen non-stop.

In a business where a person’s thoughts and creative output provide a living, it is unfair to steal the profits. It’s the same thing as walking into Wal-Mart, opening a box of Cheez-Its, eating a few crackers and throwing the rest away.

Get your own songs.

The above editorial in the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.