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Columnist Schulz misses the point

By Rachael Ludwick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 16, 1999
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To the editor,

Scott Schulz' opinion about mp3s asks: "Is it right to punish the artists for the selfish practices of their corporate representatives?" Implicit in this statement is that corporations do not have the right to sell things at whatever they want, but individuals do. In fact, implicit in this article is the idea that a person doesn't have the right to sell his goods for whatever he wants. After all, a corporations is just a group of individuals.

This is wrong.

I can offer bananas for sale at $10/banana and you don't have to buy them. But I still can refuse to sell them for anything less than $10. The recording companies and the artists have a right to sell CD's and tapes for whatever they want. Don't like $14 a CD? Well they could sell them for $140 a CD. If you don't like the prices, don't buy the goods. Using an mp3 (that isn't in the public domain), is the same as stealing my bananas, whatever I charge.

The point about mp3s is not that using them steals from the artists, it's that using them steals from the corporations and the artists. Schulz' article seemed to imply that the corporations' high prices (and presumably high profits) surrenders their property rights. But that's not the case. If it's okay to steal from a company for any reason, then it's okay to steal from anyone for any reason. Schulz' article did no service to artists by implying the corporations have less right to charge whatever price because if corporations lose property rights, then the artists are next.

Rachael Ludwick
Computer science and mathematics sophomore