Now, let's fast forward to 2004. Green Day is preparing for the release their eighth album, American Idiot. This time, none of my friends rush to Best Buy, where the CD is only $12.99. None of the little soon-to-be punk rock middle school kids are begging their parents for a ride. Instead, nearly every kid I know between the ages of 10 and 20 is on the Internet downloading the album illegally. Whether it's Bit Torrent or Kazaa or Limewire, as long as the quality is decent, my friends couldn't care less where they get it. This is no new concept for these kids, who have grown up in what is known as the information age. All they know are laptops, I-Pods, cell phones, and CD/DVD burners. Lucky for Green Day, not every kid in America has a broadband connection and even some who do, ultimately bought the CD to support the legendary rockers. Still, Green Day has to wonder just how many kids have their record via the Internet. They also have to wonder how bad things will get as more and more people are getting high-speed Internet access and sharing files illegally. At this very moment, there are 2,239,976 users on the Kazaa network. If every user downloads just one album a night for a week, there will have been 188,157,984 ill...
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...stealing it. Life is full of temptations, and many of these temptations are easy to access (illegal downloading, drugs, alcohol, sex) and most have severe consequences. In the end, nothing in a news report on CNN, an article in Creative Loafing, or a lecture from the singer of your favorite band will guarantee that the user will stop downloading illegally, especially if the user is willing to take his or her chances with the RIAA. Everybody lives by their own rules and everybody who is informed knows exactly what they are getting themselves into if they continue to download illegally. What we can do as a society is to explain to Average Joe how and why what they are doing is illegal in hopes to turn a user over to the good side. This, in my opinion, is the only way to start to put an end to illegal downloading and begin a new era of cheap "pay per song" services.
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