I just read Bob Finnerty‘s latest blog post, “Movie lovers beware: Hollywood is watching RIT.” Apparently, students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are some of the biggest pirates of movies, according to the MPAA. I wasn’t surprised.
I got my undergraduate degree at RIT. I have to say there is a culture of media piracy. Its just what was done. If you’re with a bunch of your friends and nothing is good on TV, someone will say, “wanna download a movie?”
When I was a freshmen, media piracy had just become to the cool thing to do. We had an internal network that would have around 20 terabytes of data on it at any given time. You could get any song you could imagine. Movies and video games would come out on our network months before they were released to the public.
By my sophomore and junior years of college, my friends at RIT started getting sued by the MPAA and the RIAA. If you heard a knock on your door and there were two guys there in suits, it probably wasn’t the Mormons. It was Campus Safety there to serve you with the lawsuit papers. I quickly gave up downloading for good and opted to use the Apple iTunes Store.
At RIT, there is and always has been a plethora of free pirated media at anyone’s finger tips. How can you engineer an incentive so that the piracy doesn’t take place?
RIT tried to offer a discount to a paid music service but no one really used it. I kind of wondered what they were thinking when they instituted this service.
The RIAA and MPAA could sue more students. RIT could pursue all the pirates. I still don’t think it would matter. There would still be media piracy.
I don’t pirate media because, well its wrong. Also… the convenience that iTunes provides (versus downloading illegally) is worth the money that I pay for music on iTunes.
What can RIT due to cut down the piracy? They’d have to make it easier and more convenient to get legal legitimate media then to get the pirated media but when you have students with little to no budget for fun (except for beer) that’d be hard to do.