Technology's Pros and Cons

By Smiles, Robin V. | Black Issues in Higher Education, March 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Technology's Pros and Cons


Smiles, Robin V., Black Issues in Higher Education


Admit it. Go ahead. Don't be ashamed. Names like Kazaa, Morpheus, Napster and Gnutella perhaps mean little, if anything, to you. But to Internet-savvy college students and frustrated university officials, such names are at the center of an ongoing conflict involving both the economics and the ethics of illegal downloading (or pirating) of music and videos from the Internet.

As Peter Galuszka reports in our cover story "The War Over Internet Piracy," many students make illegal use of high-speed computer connections owned by universities. And while the students are enjoying, copying and, in some cases, selling the latest tunes, administrators are scrambling to avoid potential lawsuits and fines. According to the recording industry, the practice has cost them up to $2.6 billion worldwide. While the recording industry's financial loss is not a huge concern for most students or college officials, the issue of theft and its legal ramifications has caught many an illegal downloader's attention.

In several ways, our cover story speaks to both the good and bad of technology, which is the focus of this special edition. Technological advances undoubtedly enhance our lives. However, such improvements often bring a new set of issues to tackle and situations to encounter. I doubt the president of Penn State University imagined consorting with the heads of entertainment entities such as the Motion Picture Association, Warner Music Group, or Paramount Pictures in order to provide the best learning environment for the university's students. …

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