RIAA punishing Navy cadets ‘because it can’

Careers imperiled by contraband MP3

Letters The RIAA may be "I demand the story be taken down immediately" - RIAA shocked (shocked!) by our satirical treatment of the US Navy Academy's confiscation of PCs containing MP3s, but Register readers are just as shocked that the RIAA has gone for a soft target.

Many military staff past and present have written to us. The difference between the Navy academy and other colleges is clear: the academy is obliged to investigate and punish miscreants.

So an MP3 could end a career...



Mr.Orlowski,



As a former midshipman at the US Naval Academy, I was shocked to see the words "US Naval Academy" at the top of the Drudge Report today. After reading your article, I can hardly say I am surprised, but at the same time, offended by the RIAA's reaction.

Why target the Naval Academy? Because they can.

They can't target University of Maryland, or Georgetown U., but they sure could find just as many students there with MP3's on their computers. By using the Naval Academy to set an example, they are ruining the careers of many good men and women who will be charged with the show-stopping "honor offense" (an offense that is unique to the military academies such as Westpointe and USNA).

USNA may provide the RIAA with standing target to take fire on (as opposed to students at a civilian school where it would be more difficult to seize personal affects like computers based on such a suspicion), but they are ENDING the careers of these kids. And think about it, the midshipmen at the Naval Academy spend most of their Friday and Saturday nights sitting in their dorm rooms because of the restrictive nature of the Academy's curfew.

They will find things like MP3's simply out of night after night, week after week, of boredom during their college years.

I am disgusted by the RIAA's decision to target the Naval Academy just because it makes and easy target.

Very respectfully,
[name and address supplied]
former member of the class of 2003



I don't suppose the original heading was:



"RIAA orders Navy to bend it's own over. 'All in a day's work', Navy spokesperson says"

My enlisted Navy friends, who would never, ever do something as bad as download MP3's already threaten me on a regular basis. Here's to their good humor!

- Unnamed Sister Service Member who'll go to the hell of endless "Professional Image" lectures should his CO find out...

[name supplied]



What next, will the RIAA seek to replace numberplates with cd's as the primary output of your magnificent incarceration industry?



After all, the punishment should fit the crime.

Paul Butler
[in the UK]



Mr. Orlowski,



I am a 1976 graduate of the US Air Force Academy. As far as I know, the US Naval Academy has the same honor code that I lived under for 4 years, i.e., "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate among us any who does." That's pretty clear and simple.

Believe me, I saw cadets (the USAF equivalent of "midshipmen") KICKED OUT of the Academy for lesser offenses than downloading MP3 files. Yes, like it or not, that is considered STEALING. As far as these middies getting "their asses blown off for their country", well, they run the same risks as any other member of the military, but they have voluntarily sworn to uphold an honor code that may seem quaint and outdated to many (most?) but is one of the distinguishing features of all of our military academies.

It isn't a matter of "foreign material", and I think it is disingenuous of you to suggest that is the RIAA's motivation. As long as the recording artists and the RIAA maintain that their music is copyrighted and that downloading it for free is a crime, cadets and midshipmen who do so are subject to action under their honor codes. If they don't like it, they can go enroll in Cream Puff U and live like the rest of the herd.

Mark S. Shanks
Rockwell Collins Flight Dynamics



As a retired U.S. Air Force officer I was surprised to learn that everything a deceased member might have in his possession when he died will be sent to his next of kin.



In the past an officer was appointed to gather the deceased man's personal effects. The officer was instructed to remove military property, and everything and anything that might be embarrassing to the deceased or his family. That officer had the duty to remove anything, which, in his opinion, was inappropriate to send to the man's family. And it was done, and the inventory officer could consult with the commander if there was any doubt. And if in doubt, don't send the item.

James Peavey, Capt, USAF Retired



We asked the RIAA if it felt the punishment was proportionate to the crime:



"The letter sent by the content community speaks for itself.

"We appreciate institutions who take intellectual property theft seriously.

However, we do not dictate what their enforcement policies should be, and, in this particular instance, we do not know the facts of the case," said
an RIAA spokesperson. ®

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