wgassett has written 5 posts for The Digital Bullpen

Digital Music Sales Plummet; Digital Piracy Carries On

Jack Sparrow of modern technology

The music industry prepares for the worst after another year of music sales plunge.

The future of digital music looked promising with the sales of compact discs coming to an end.  However, after a fall in digital sales, the music industry fears that this is as good as it’s going to get.

According to the New York Times, The International Federation of Phonographic Industry, a trade group based in London, said that the sales of music in digital form had risen only six percent worldwide in 2010, compared to 12 percent in 2009, and 25 percent in 2008.  The report places much of the blame for the trend on piracy, linking it to falling sales.

Piracy and illegal file-sharing occur worldwide, but seem to be a major problem among college campuses.  College students everywhere are jumping on this illegal band-wagon because of its accessibility, convenience and price.

For a number of years, the University of South Florida has battled electronic piracy with its students.

According to past issues of the Oracle, in 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America first cracked down on USF when they sent 124 pre-litigation letters to USF students, accusing them of using the university’s network to illegally download music.  Fifty-four of the students were later sued by the RIAA.

In response to the music industry’s reaction against illegal downloads, USF partnered with Ruckus Network, Inc.  Ruckus, a software program, allowed students of the USF network the ability to download music for free.  Students could download and listen to any genre of music within the 3 million-track library at no cost.

The negative side to Ruckus was that the music provided in the library was protected; therefore, the free versions provided were not able to be played or transported anywhere else.  If students wanted to burn the tracks to a disc, they had to pay anywhere from 79 cents to 99 cents per track.

Eventually, Ruckus was unable to keep the students’ attention, and Academic Computing set up a software program, Red Lambda, that monitored students’ file-sharing on USF’s network.

At the beginning of every semester, every student who uses the USF network must agree to the university acceptable-use policies, which affirm that USF’s policies on electronic piracy are not being violated.  Any student who does not comply with the terms and policies is unable to access the university’s network.

The software program is currently used at the university, but students throughout the campus continue to illegally download music.

Kayla Brochu, a senior at USF said, “Honestly, everyone does it so much, I don’t even think of it as illegal.  It allows me to download music for free and being a college student, not much is free.”

A fellow senior at USF, Ashley Knoch said, “It’s something that I’ve been doing for a while now.  I think it’s becoming more easy to access because it’s so popular.  Everyone knows someone who does it, so more and more people are catching on.  And it’s free.”

Experts agree.

According to The New York Times, Frances Moore, the chief executive of The International Federation of Phonographic Industry said, “As we enter 2011, digital piracy, and the lack of adequate legal tools to fight it, remains the biggest threat to the future of creative industries.  Great new legitimate music offerings exist all over the world, offering consumers a wide range of access to music.  Yet they operate in a market that is rigged by piracy, and they will not survive if action is not taken to address this fundamental problem.”

If digital piracy and illegal file-sharing continue, digital music sales will continue to fall.  This trend will leave the music industry short billions of dollars needed to replace the former sales of compact discs, according to The New York Times.

USF Celebrates Earth Week 2011

Sunday, April 17 marked the beginning of Earth Week 2011, an entire week devoted to honoring Earth and raising concern for the need to improve the world environmentally.  The University of South Florida will host events all week long to support the cause.

REACH Peer Educators will celebrate the week with an event called Think Global. Act Local.  The event will be on Thursday, April 21 in the SVC breezeway and will allow students to find out different ways to be green, become informed on what USF is doing to help the cause , and pick up free snacks, according to the event details on the Division of Student Affairs website.

Also, joining in on some of the events is S.P.E.A.K., a student organization centralized around raising awareness and bringing an end to animal cruelty.  Lindsay Smith, member of the organization said, “We are trying to come up with ideas to promote the environment through vegetarianism/veganism,” via email.  S.P.E.A.K. will host a vegan demonstration in Juniper Dining on Friday, April 22.  The demonstration will include various delicious vegan and vegetarian dishes for all who join, according to the event details.

Although, the official Earth Day is not until Friday, April 22, USF will celebrate all week  in efforts to improve the environment for a better world and a better tomorrow.

USF Takes a Stand Against Sexual Violence

For the fifth year in a row, NITE (Necessary Improvements to Transform our Enviroment) hosted the Take Back the Night event, a candlelight vigil and slient march where students, faculty, and supporters from the community gathered to speak out for those victimized by sexual violence. The event was held in the MSC Amphitheater Wednesday, April 13.

A number of special guests attended the event, including pro-bowler, Lee Roy Selmon. Selmon led the REAL Men’s Promise aloud, followed by the men attendees who were asked to repeat the promise after him.

The event was concluded by Dean of Students, Dr. Kevin Banks, who led a reception and celebration of life. Banks sang aloud the lyrics of Ben E. King’s, Stand By Me and brought the audience to their feet as he sang the final verse, “just as long as you stand, stand by me.”

Eileen Dabrowski, advocate/educator in the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention and student affairs liaison to NITE said, “A show of support sends a powerful message to those who’ve been victimized but also the victimizers. We want sexual violence to end, here and everywhere it happens in the world,” according to an article from USF News.

USF hosts 2011 American Cancer Society Relay For Life

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is an event that offers people from all around the world the chance to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

This year’s Relay For Life will be held on Friday, April 8, at the USF Soccer and Track Stadium. This years event has already raised an overwhelming $26,000, donated by the 78 teams and over 800 participants.

At Relay for Life, every team camps out overnight and take turns walking or running around the track. A representative from each team is present on the track at all times, and the event can last up to 24 hours.

This years teams are made up from a number of student organizations and departments, ranging from the USF Dance Department to The Catholic Student Union.

So, whether it is to celebrate the lives of those who are currently battling the disease, or the lives of loved ones lost, this event will bring students, faculty and friends of the USF community together for one cause–to end the fight against cancer.

USF: Unstoppable Campaign event to be held in St. Petersburg

The President of the University of South Florida, Judy Genshaft, will be hosting the USF: Unstoppable Event on Thursday, April 21 at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts, Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, Fl.  A reception will celebrate the campaign’s success, and will be open to the public.

“The USF: Unstoppable Campaign is a comprehensive fundraising effort by the University of South Florida to celebrate the energy, vision and future of one of the country’s most exciting and engaged universities,” according to the campaign’s webpage.

The campaign is fueled by generous donations from alumni, friends, foundations and businesses, and has raised over $400 million of the campaign’s $600 million goal.  The money raised will go towards a plan, created by USF’s people and programs, to enhance healthcare, science, technology, education, business, the arts and global partnerships at USF and its surrounding community.

“When I think of the word “unstoppable” in the context of USF, I think of the way people stretch every single day–to do better, to do more, to use the USF entrepreneurial spirit to accomplish what few universities can,” CEO of the USF Foundation, Joel Momberg said, according to the campaign’s webpage.

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