I’m in Dallas for the Educause 06 conference – just me an 7,500 of my closest friends. Most of my time here is committed to working meetings, but this morning I’m taking in a talk by Ross Housewright, a grad student at UC Berkeley, who’s done a study of how students feel about the ways in which they download music.
There’s nothing revelatory here, but Ross found that almost all students are using P2P file sharing to get music, and that the file sharing networks are (despite years of the industry battling against them) are still more convenient to use than any legal service – more comprehensive, less restrictive, and free.
Students know that file sharing is illegal, but they think of it as illegal like speeding or jaywalking. As far as education goes, they find industry efforts as unconvincing – it’s seen as poor college students vs rich rock stars and the huge entertainment industry. Students don’t know the details of the law, and they don’t care to learn. They don’t think they’re likely to get sued.