RIAA efforts may be pushing students to underground sharing

Despite all the effort the RIAA put into trying to educate students about piracy, the usual surge in P2P usage came in September with an average of 6.8m users online according to Big Champagne, up from 4.32m last September.  One thing the RIAA has noticed is that their spoofing fake files technique on Kazaa seems to be taking effect, but in not the way they hoped.  Former Kazaa users simply started moving to eDonkey and thus its usage overtook Kazaa as a result. 

While the RIAA now focuses their lawsuit efforts eDonkey users, there is another type of music sharing becoming more wide spread at colleges which the RIAA has little control of – localised student to student music swapping.  Just as students use to physically swap music cassettes and CDs with friends, the same is happening with physical files by students taking portable hard drives and MP3 players to their friend’s place and exchanging music without the Internet being involved.

The main problem now is that while the RIAA may be confident about discouraging some users off P2P services with lawsuits, they may not be aware that direct student to student music swapping may be a worse off problem to worry about since they cannot easily monitor this.  Also, even though 6,191 lawsuits have been filed since last September there is still only less than one in a thousand chance of being used.  Chances are students may compare this to the chance of being burgled or mugged and see that the chance of being sued is not so bad after all.  GristyMcFisty used our news submit to let us know about the following news:

Some 61 million people in the US regularly share music online and the US academic study said:

“In general we observe that P2P activity has not diminished. On the contrary, P2P traffic represents a significant amount of Internet traffic and is likely to continue to grow in the future, RIAA behavior notwithstanding.”

And, “The risk tied to Internet file-sharing is almost zero despite entertainment industry claims to the contrary, says the Canadian consumer report.

In the meanwhile, Big Champagne ceo Eric Garland points out the p2p networks aren’t the only game in town.

Hot-swapping, which by-passes the Net altogether, is becoming more and more popoular, he says.

Under it, music fans swap files by physically hooking an external hard drive (or player, like an iPod) to a friend’s machine so they can ‘download’ songs, he told p2pnet.

In the Billboard piece, Garland is quoted as saying practices such as Hot Swapping thrive where young people live in close communities such as college campuses.

And in typically disengenuous RIAA reasoning, Sherman spins this as a positive development.

“The more that you drive (activity) underground, the better off you are overall,” he told Billboard.

Read the full article here.

While the surge in file sharing using portable devices may start appearing like a problem now, both the music industry and MP3 player manufacturers had this in mind already since the first portable MP3 players came out.  Most manufacturers simply prevented the ability to copy music back off their hardware to try and avoid issues with the music industry.  However, portable hard drives and newer ‘driver-less’ MP3 players do not stop music from being copied back off, thus allowing one friend to easily pass their entire collection to someone else in a very short space of time.

Source: P2Pnet