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My Letters to The Cavalier Daily

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Student newspapers are silly, and no one really takes them seriously. UVA's paper, despite coming from a very reputable school, is no exception. The opinion articles are the worst. I've decided to start writing letters to the editor whenever something especially silly is printed. I'll post them in this thread.

My first letter:

This was written in response to an article titled "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Sue 'Em" which portrayed the battle between illegal music downloading and the RIAA as a natural progression of a market economy. I don't have a copy of the article, but I can say that it was very philosophically weak and tried to claim that people had some sort of "right" to downloading copyrighted material. Anyway, my letter to the editor was published. It was annoying, because I was limited to 200 words, but I tried to be concise and get my point across.

In Monday's Column "If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em", Josh Levy makes several remarks about how outdated technology is eventually replaced by newer technologies in a market economy. Attributing this phenomena to the record industry's struggle against illegal music downloading is problematic, however.

In his analogies, Levy says that horse and buggies were replaced by cars, and gas heating replaced coal power. However, these industries were replaced by legal competition in which one enterprise simply outperformed another. Downloading copyrighted material from the internet without the owner's consent is not legal, or moral competition--it is theft of intellectual property.

The record companies could take better advantage of the digital medium of transfer, but their ineffectiveness to adapt to consumer demand does not give consumers the right to steal the product they demand. If someone breaks into a person's house and steals a record collection, the victim would call the police and attempt to prevent the crime from happening again. The RIAA is extending this concept to the world of digital media. Simply because something exists on the internet does not mean that someone (record companies) does not still own that item.



More to come, as they give me more material to argue against.

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