'War' On Music Piracy To Be Debated April 9 By Attorneys For Recording Industry, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Published: March 28, 2008

The recording industry's practice of targeting individual university students for music copyright infringement, along with other digital rights issues, will be discussed during an April 9 debate sponsored by the University of Colorado at Boulder's Silicon Flatirons Center.

Titled "The War on 'Piracy': A Fight for Industry Survival or a Failed Approach?" the debate will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the ATLAS building's Cofrin Auditorium on the CU-Boulder campus.

After filing more than 20,000 lawsuits over the past four years on copyright infringement, and with the recent award of $222,000 in damages against Brainerd, Minn., resident Jammie Thomas for illegally sharing music, the Recording Industry Association of America finds itself at the center of a debate on the nature of copyright law and practices in the digital age.

Richard L. Gabriel, senior counsel from Holme, Roberts & Owen who represents the recording industry, will debate Fred von Lohmann and Cindy Cohn, two lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which opposes the recording industry's current practices.

"The recording industry is at the forefront of the Internet's transformation of entertainment, communications and culture," said law Professor Phil Weiser, executive director and founder of Silicon Flatirons.

"Consumer expectations around what constitutes piracy and how they consume music are in a period of flux, raising enormous challenges for the legal system, policymakers and the affected companies," Weiser said. "We look forward to hosting an illuminating discussion of these issues, which students experience firsthand but rarely look at in a broader social, legal and economic context."

Last October, a jury returned a verdict against Thomas for willfully violating the copyright of 24 music files consisting of such bands as Aerosmith, Guns and Roses and Green Day. The $222,000 award comes to $9,250 per song file.

CU-Boulder students, faculty and staff can attend at no charge, but are encouraged to register. For more information about the event, visit the Silicon Flatirons Web site at www.silicon-flatirons.org or call (303) 735-5633.