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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Illegal file sharing: I2hub shut down

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Opinions

Its a sad day for college students across North America. I2hub, the popular college music and movie network, has been shut down. I2hub provided its users with a free service that featured incredibly fast transfers.

Sharing music and movies without paying for them is, in the United States, an illegal practice. But do I feel guilty for partaking in it? Cant say I do. This is partly because I have seen shows such as Access Hollywood, MTV Cribs, and The Fabulous Life Of Movies cost between $9 and $11 in most places. CDs cost about $17 to $20. Even the crappiest of major concert tickets sell for about $40 face value. What does this money go towards? You should turn on MTV and find out incredibly expensive cars, stripper poles, private movie theatres, and gold pool tables, among other things. And everyone knows a house is not a home without a shark tank.

Maybe Im just concerned about the growing gap between the poor and the rich in this country. Maybe I just dont have all that much money to spend on leisure. Maybe I just want to download that song thats been stuck in my head without having to pay for it. Maybe I just dont want to fund Nellys shark tank.

A number of popular artists have spoken out against illegal file sharing. Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls mentioned robbing artists of their means of earning. Too true Johnny, why, last week I saw John Mayer begging on a corner. Rzeznik followed that statement by predicting if illegal file-sharing continues, eventually there will be no art of consequence or substance. Because of course, people all around the world will stop playing quality music if they are not getting paid for it. They might even suck on purpose.
The Dixie Chicks added their two cents. They said that It may seem innocent enough, but every time you illegally download music a songwriter doesnt get paid. Tear. Does anyone have a tiny violin I can borrow? If I illegally download this song for my listening pleasure, a pop star might not be able to afford that Mercedes SUV with Xboxes behind every seat or heated floors in his bathroom.

Perhaps a file-sharing network increases CD sales, and provides potential consumers with a preview of what they might buy. It pressures artists to work harder on their entire albums, not just settling for a few hit singles and the rest being filler. Independent artists can spread their songs on the network to get their names out there.

Lets say you miss last nights episode of Nip/Tuck because of a club meeting. You used to be able to download it the next day off i2hub. Now, you might have to hope someone taped it or pay $15-60 to buy the entire season on DVD a few months later.

The next time you go out and buy a CD, remember that you, loyal music consumer, are doing something special. You are providing Tyrese with rims for his Bentley. You are helping Master P plate his ceiling with 14 k gold. Youre helping Lil Jon pay for the fronts on his teeth. The RIAA thanks you and reminds you that little in life is truly free.

A recent Will Smith song dictated well dont download, go out and buy the record. Dont worry, Will. I wont be downloading your songs. But I wont be buying them either.