Tech Hosts Town Hall on Music and Movie Downloads

If you could download thousands of dollars worth of music and movies for free with a few keystrokes, would you do it? That's the quandary college students across the country are facing. Given high-speed Internet access and a thin wallet, many students are taking a bite at the apple and copying music and video files to their computer without paying the artist or the production company.

Georgia Tech is hosting, "The Download: Free For All?" a panel discussion on the ethical and legal issues of file sharing joining students with representatives from the recording industry, file-sharing advocates and experts in copyright law. The event takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, at Georgia Tech's Robert Ferst Center for the Arts.

As many as a 1,000 participants are expected to attend the discussion, which will cover such areas as the financial costs and benefits of file sharing, its effects on music and movie sales, copyright law and John Doe lawsuits against file sharers.

Featured on the panel is Linda J. Zerkelbach, associate counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Zerkelbach has played a key role in the industries litigation against music downloaders and the U.S. Supreme Court case MGM v. Grokster. The court heard oral arguments earlier this week on the case that could decide whether software distributors can be held liable for illegal acts committed with their products.

The event will be broadcast on WREK, 91.1 FM.

Panelist include:

· Linda J. Zirkelbach, Recording Industry Association of America,
Linda J. Zirkelbach is Associate Counsel of Legal Affairs, for the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. The RIAA's more than 350 members create, manufacture or distribute more than 90% of all legitimate sound recordings sold in the United States.

At the RIAA since early 2003, Ms. Zirkelbach has been critical to the shaping of music piracy litigation. She has played a key role in many matters including: the thousands of lawsuits filed against individual infringers, the U.S. Supreme Court appeal in the Grokster secondary liability case, an enforcement program to address CD piracy at the retail level, litigation against CD plants pressing illegal product, and various other cases. She has also worked on numerous amicus briefs regarding copyright issues important to the industry.

· Adam Toll, BigChampagne,
Adam Toll is the co-founder of BigChampagne, the leading provider of information about popular entertainment online. BigChampagne measures activity on P2P networks, gathering information about online searches and
shared files. BigChampagne combines these data with information from other sources (radio airplay, retailers, "legitimate" download services) and provides statistical analysis of this information to its customers.

· Jon Bonus, Owner of Bonus Records

· Corrine Lee, Bass/Keys/Vocal for the Athens, Ga band Snowden.

The moderator of the event will be Brannon D. Anthony, intellectual property specialist from the law firm of Lord, Bissell & Brook, LLP.

"The Download: Free for All?" is produced by Georgia Tech's Honor Advisory Council, the Dean of Students office and the Office of Information Technology.