Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Sway Students' Verdict on Illegal Downloading: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

My Best Lesson - Sway Students' Verdict on Illegal Downloading: News

Article excerpt

"What was the last thing you downloaded?"

My information communications technology class reacts with amusement, as though this question is a clarion call for bragging.

"I download stuff all the time from these torrent websites - I'm not paying when I can get it for free," one student boasts. Within a minute, the entire class is animatedly showing off about their own illegal downloading habits.

"You have all broken the law," my next slide says. Uproar. There is an atmosphere of loud ambivalence fused with defensive justification. "So?" students say. "What does it matter, it's not like they need the money."

"Who are 'they'?" I reply. "If a song costs Pounds 1, and half that money is used to employ staff who work on an average salary of Pounds 20,000 per year, how many people's wages would be lost if you all downloaded it illegally? Or, let's say, if a million people downloaded it without paying?"

I am not aiming for subtlety. We look at the numbers and some eyebrows are raised. …

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