- The Washington Times - Monday, June 27, 2005

The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing entertainment companies to hold file-sharing programs liable for trading of pirated music drew mixed reactions from music fans who were walking around with MP3 players in their hands or IPods’ white speakers in their ears.

Kyle Thompson, a sophomore at Drexel University in Philadelphia, just bought an IPod and said he didn’t pay for any of the music on it.

But Mr. Thompson, who was listening to his IPod yesterday while walking around Union Station, said responsibility for the copyright infringement on pirated files should fall on individuals, not the file-sharing programs, whether it’s Kazaa, LimeWire, Grokster or others.

“It’s messed up they can sue [the file-sharing companies],” Mr. Thompson said. “Individuals are the ones who are abusing it.”

Eighteen percent of Americans agree that individuals should be responsible for the pirated files they download, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project survey released in March, the most recent available. The survey, conducted in January and February, also found that 12 percent of Americans think responsibility should be split between programs and individuals.

But 49 percent of Americans think the file-sharing companies should be held responsible.

Rob, a 42-year-old District resident who was listening to an MP3 player yesterday, agreed.

He said file-sharing programs are liable to the entertainment industry the moment they allow people to trade files on their programs. He downloads music, but purchases compact discs (CDs), as well.

He declined to give his last name out of fear he might be sued by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The association, which represents the music industry, has filed copyright-infringement suits against 11,700 potential file sharers. In November, the Motion Picture Association of America began filing suit against people who it says have downloaded illegal movie files.

Music fan Jerrica Blackport agreed with the entertainment industry that artists are being ripped off.

“They’re making songs and aren’t getting paid for it,” said the 14-year-old, who was listening to an MP3 player full of songs transferred from burned CDswhile waiting in Union Station for a train to take her back to her native Michigan. “They should.”

But other fans said they think music on the shelf is overpriced.

“CDs are $20,” said 13-year-old Ava Grueneisen, a Los Angeles native who was visiting the District on a class trip. “Music is too expensive, especially when there are other sources.”

Classmate Camille Liberatoer used to use Kazaa to download music.

“They have everything,” she said. “I could search for someone like Eminem and get the songs, but I would get viruses, also.”

Now she uses a legal and safer alternative, Apple’s ITunes, to download music. The software allows users to download songs for 99 cents each.

“I feel guilty that [musicians] work hard and people rip them off. …” Camille said.

“But we still do it,” said her friend, 13-year-old Aviva Kraus.

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