Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't download this song on campus

Two comedy items received through the Cyberprof mailing list, one intentional and one not (we hope). Behold the Campus Downloading video, a release by the RIAA to scare students into not downloading music on campus. I bet that this video will acquire cult status only equaled by Reefer Madness, due to its over-the-top scaremongering and use of threatening tactics.

The video includes all the rhetoric that we have come to expect from the RIAA, including the use of "stealing" at any opportunity; it also reminds us that there are criminal penalties for downloading music, so you can end up in jail. We also meet Derek, who in a surreal interview tells us about how he was taken from class by the police, had an FBI agent talk to him about copyright law, how he "works 40 hours a week" just to pay for legal fees, and how downloading has ruined his life. Call me cynical, but I think that his settlement with the RIAA included appearing in this video. We then hear about a computer expert who talks about how people can catch viruses from P2P, with shots of the guy fixing the inside of the computer because "the hard drive has been destroyed by the virus". It also probably eats your food, and steals your girlfriend while it's at it.

I propose the following IMDB tagline for Campus Downloading: "Cautionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of the Internet. A trio of P2P programs lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to downloads, wild parties, and jazz music."

If you feel your sanity slipping away after watching the RIAA video, then do have a look at Weird Al Jankovic's new song: Don't Download this Song. The lyrics are nothing but inspired:

Once in a while,
maybe you will feel the urge
to break international copyright law;
by downloading MP3s,
from file-sharing sites,
like Morpheus, or Grokster, or LimeWire or KazAA.

But deep in your heart,
you know the guilt will drive you mad,
and the shame will leave a permanent scar;
'cause you start up stealing songs,
then you're robbing liquor stores,
and selling crack,
and running over school kids with your car.
By the way, you can download this song.

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