File Sharing Survey

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File Sharing Survey

With a coke in one hand and the computer mouse in the other, Jack Napster is busy downloading Mp3's from Limewire with his super fast college Ethernet connection. Jack Napster lives for his music and consequently makes use of file sharing programs in order to keep up with current musical trends. He can access all the new hit songs and even some underground artists that his friends have recommended to him. Jack feels that file sharing is an ethical practice even though it is deemed illegal by the law. He feels that the downloading of music does not hurt the music industry; on the contrary it actually helps promote smaller artists. Most important, he knows that mp3's are free, and what college student does not like the word free?

College campuses all across the nation are full of Jack Napster's. On October 8th, 2002, a letter was sent out to over 2,300 colleges and universities across the nation by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) informing them of the legal issues about on-campus file sharing programs. The letter seeks the support of the colleges’ to help fight against file sharing and outlines a set of policies for the schools to adopt (MTV.com). In light of these recent incidents, I choose to delve into this controversial issue by creating a survey to give to college students at James Madison University (JMU).

The purpose of my survey was to determine the ethical beliefs of the Jack Napster’s at James Madison University in response to file sharing programs. The survey was administered to both female and male students as well as students of every undergraduate level. The demographics are as follows; eight males and seventeen females were surveyed for a total of twenty five completed questionnaires. The survey was distributed in my hall in my dorm, the laundry room, in my friend’s dorm, at a theater rehearsal, and at a super bowl gathering. The survey was administered from January 24th through January 27th, 2003. I feel that this variety of settings, ages, and gender provide for a more balanced survey.

Going into the survey, I was sure that everyone on campus used file-sharing programs, but to my surprise only 18 of the students actually did.

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