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Messages - CLS2009Student

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Views on illegal downloading
« on: February 25, 2008, 08:45:07 AM »
I think this is where we differ. I do not believe that a legal, equitable system would be developing were it not for p2p. I see p2p as a means to get there -- I agree that there are better alternatives, and some are developing right now. I will say more later about what I see as some viable alternatives, if they are given enough support.

Yes, I think this is a point where reasonable people might disagree.  Certainly, at one point, p2p software forced studios to wake up.  At this point, however, I doubt continued illegal file sharing could be justified on this point.

The other thing I wish to point out is that you're essentially arguing that illegal file sharing is "civil disobedience."  I believe there is a place for civil disobedience, but this is not it.  We should follow laws that we think are imperfect, unnecessary, or even unfair.  It is only when a law is patently and indisputably unjust while at the same time being immune from legal methods of challenge that we should turn to civil disobedience.  This is absolutely not the case here.  I might think it'd be more efficient to drive like the British, but that doesn't make it right for me to barrel down the left side of the road.  I might think I can hold my liquor just fine, but that doesn't make it okay for me to drive with a BAC of .12.  Society requires mutual trust and cooperation, and that sometimes means defering to democratically-made choices.

You've mentioned Ruckus, and if these criticisms from Wikipedia are true, it would not suit my needs:

# The Ruckus music files are copy protected, which prevents them from being used with some of the most popular portable music devices such as the iPod and some irivers. Ruckus works only with Microsoft PlaysForSure, a program with an uncertain long-term future following the release of Microsoft's new flagship Zune format, which is incompatible with PlaysForSure.[9]
# Ruckus music files carry individual licenses that must be renewed monthly by signing into service or playing media.
# The service is not compatible with Apple Macintosh or Linux
This criticism is incredibly ironic, because all the problems you point out with Ruckus are all caused by illegal downloading.  Widespread bootlegging has made artists and labels so averse to digital music and innovation, that they require incredible amounts of DRM.  To the extent that Ruckus is hobbled, it is because of piracy.

I'll get you the empirical evidence of why p2p has helped artists -- I never argued for the complete evisceration of IP rights. You keep bringing this back to whether or not my piracy is justified, on an individual level. I could care less whether you think I am an immoral, horrible being. It's not about that for me --  if you wish, fine, I enjoy the fruits of labor without always compensating artists, and this may not be legally or morally justified. The point is that p2p as a technology is helping artists break out of a system that wasn't good for them. So when I get you the stats, realize that this is what my focus is on.

When you present this evidence--which you should already have, since it is supposedly your reason for your piracy--be sure that it reflects a few things that would be necessary for your conclusion:
1. Illegal file sharing--as opposed to artist-sanctioned p2p sharing--helps small artists.
2. Any benefit to small artists is of a magnitude to outweigh the harms imposed on entry-level workers in the recording industry, employees of music retailers, large artists, and everyone else.
3. That most small artists actually support illegal sharing of their files, since it wouldn't be fair to say you know what is best for them and impose your own solution against their will.
4. That illegal file sharing better serves these goals than other methods of supporting change (like turning to independent, unsigned artists).
5. That illegal file sharing will actually someday result in the imposition of a legal, equitable system.

Finally, I am not making any moral judgments about you.  Illegal file sharing, in the aggregate, has serious negative effects on everyone.  Illegal file sharing, on an individual basis, violates the law and the autonomy interests of artists.  To the extent that any individual judgments can be made from this, it is only because they necessarily follow from reality.

I think Beer is totally right.  In much more direct words, he says what I've been saying all along: "People download music because they can get it for free. Period. And not one of you b#tches have the nuts to just say so."  All the excuses have been shown to be just that--excuses. 

I agree with much of what AskMeQuestions has said.  It'd be hard to keep the Chapman $$.  If you're worried about money, UNLV might be worth it.  Among the other schools, think seriously about where you want to work as they are definitely "local" schools--i.e. won't be too useful outside their markets.  Also think seriously about whether you'd enjoy being a lawyer before dropping that much money.

Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: Which schools offer travel stipends?
« on: February 24, 2008, 09:59:12 PM »
Columbia offers a travel stipend for an official admitted student program.  I believe it is up to $200, depending on where you are coming from.  You usually don't have to worry about costs besides travel:  admitted students can usually be hosted by a current student and the programs include plenty of free food.

NYU also offers travel subsidies.  I don't know what the details are on those programs, but CLS & NYU schedule their admitted students programs to be complementary.  That is, you can usually do both of them on one trip and thus get reimbursed by both of them.

This is at least my understanding when I applied--no guarantee this is still accurate.

Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: international law basics
« on: February 24, 2008, 09:54:47 PM »
Honestly, pick a school based on where you feel comfortable and job prospects.  All those schools will offer an extensive selection of courses and good professors.  No firm is going to choose to employ a student based on some imperceptible difference in "international law."  Not to mention, you don't actually practice "international law."  International law is just a sub-specialty of another specialty of another specialty.  You might want to do corporate work that is focused on M&A for multi-national/foreign companies, but you don't do "international law."

This is completely correct.  The quality of particular law school specialties is usually not nearly as important as the quality of the school itself.  Go somewhere you will enjoy.

If you are choosing among those schools, you can't go to wrong.  That said, I'd put Columbia and NYU above both Georgetown and Berkeley.  (I have an interest in international law and picked Columbia over all of them.  I do not regret that decision.)

One thing to think about, if you're looking to work internationally rather than just do work on international law, is the reputation of a school overseas.  I'm not sure how important this is, but it weighed heavily in favor of Columbia when I was making my decision.  (I thought this was so in part because of the strength of the international reputation of the University in general, and in part because of the strong international programs at the law school in particular.)  Again, though, just go where you'll be happy.  Those are all good schools.

A large part of me thinks along the lines of what both of you (M.C.B. and CLS2009) are saying.  Even given my various worries, I'm both pretty sure I'm going to really like CLS when I visit (going to the March ASW) and I'm pretty sure I'm going to accept their offer.  I guess I'm just looking for a little resolve fortification!

Unfortunately, I am just finishing up my financial aid forms now.  Took my family a while to get the records in order for Need Access, but I'm going to submit that in the next day or two, along with the CLS institutional form.

However, my family is pretty well off, so I don't expect a large offer in need-based grants, and my numbers weren't high enough for any of the initial merit offers (I knew this going in; I'm very thankful CLS was kind enough to admit me!).  So, I expect to be taking mostly loans, and I sometimes question the value of submitting a Need Access form at all.

I really think you should do the NeedAccess app so you at least have a shot at gift aid.  If it makes you feel any better I don't even remember anything about it two years later.  (So it can't be that scarring an experience--unless I've repressed it.)  Family finances factor into it less than at the undergrad stage so you might have a shot.  And even if you end up getting only a few thousand dollars, it will be worth a few hours of your time.

Law School Applications / Re: FAFSA and merit aid
« on: February 24, 2008, 09:40:22 PM »
I'll finish NeedAccess tomorrow or by Friday.  Does it take a few days to go through, which might put me ahead of the deadline?

I'm not sure, but I think the NeedAccess website says what the timeline is.  I think it takes a couple days, but you should be fine as long as you submit it by the deadline.  Again, be sure to check the school's requirements to be sure they need it.

After studying for the LSAT for about a month and a half before the test and averaging about a 150 on all of my practice tests, I got a 140 on the big day--which was a huge blow for me. I was expecting to get the 150 or higher and apply to places like New England, CUNY etc., however, now I am seriously reconsidering. I am a first generation American who speaks fluent Polish and good Russian and want to work as an immigration lawyer. What I am trying to say is that I feel that I have a good package to offer--but that terrible LSAT score!!! What do you all think?

As others have said, an LSAT of 140 will severely limit you.  You have a great GPA and the BA in Russian will probably be interesting to many schools--but not with an LSAT of 140.  I suggest that you devote some serious effort to preparing for a retake of the LSAT.  You probably should enroll in one of the LSAT courses by Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc. 

Is English your second language?  That could have adversely affected your LSAT score.  Schools might be willing to take that into account--but again, probably not with an LSAT of 140.  Some serious studying for the LSAT could help you get to where you need to be.

Law School Applications / Re: FAFSA and merit aid
« on: February 24, 2008, 09:22:05 PM »
I finished my FAFSA with a very low EFC (or whatever that number may be), but the NeedAccess form seems way too long for me to fill out.  Should I simply skip it?  Could it only harm me?

Many (most?) schools require NeedAccess before they will consider you for any aid.  In that case, skipping it could only harm you; doing it could only help you.  You should look closely at the financial aid instructions for the schools you are considering.  A good number require NeedAccess, others want CSS/PROFILE, many have their own custom forms, and some require some combination of these.

In most cases, the FAFSA alone will let you apply for federal loans (e.g. Stafford).  So if you are only interested in federal loans--and not any grants, scholarship, or institutional loans--then you probably don't need to go beyond the FAFSA.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: Views on illegal downloading
« on: February 24, 2008, 09:07:12 PM »
Wow, there are so many bad arguments in this thread that I'm not sure where to begin.

Blupblup, there are many bad arguments in this thread but they are mostly offered by the proponents of piracy.  It is striking that you purport to respond to my arguments without even reading many of them.

A couple things, though: there is plenty of empirical evidence that the current system is bad for the little guy. Major labels have an oligopoly, which stifles competition within the industry. Payola, which is illegal, is very prevalent. It is very hard for independent labels to compete with major labels, but it is bad for the artist to be on a major label because generally they suck and pay very low royalties. Not all independent labels are stellar, but many provide much better options. However, if an artist really wants to make it big, they generally have no choice but to switch to a major. This sucks for all artists.
If this is the real reason for your illegal downloading, please cite some of this plentiful empirical evidence that you have about the evils of the current system.  More importantly, though, be sure to provide empirical evidence that the virtually complete evisceration of intellectual property rights would somehow be better for artists.  Because without the latter, the problems with the current system are completely irrelevant to whether your piracy is justified.

Your argument regarding one's reason for downloading is circular. You say that there can be no legitimate reason to download copyrighted music, but then when presented with potentially legitimate reasons, you say 'those are just rationalizations' because you think, in the first place, that there can be no legitimate reason. You're very close minded in this sense, and do not seem to understand anything I just said.
I am completely open-minded on this subject.  It's true that I have thoroughly thought about this issues and been unable to find any legitimate reason for downloading music illegaly, but should one present itself, I would be willing to change that opinion.  I haven't dismissed your purported reasons without considering them.  Instead, I've examined them and found them to be rationalizations for two reasons:  First, they aren't "reasons" that have driven you to download music illegaly but merely excuses you have made up after the fact.  Second, I've found them to be demonstrably wrong.  For example, you say you just download music for "sampling."  Then I considered that issue, and explained that you most likely were not in reality just "sampling" music.  I also explained why the "sampling" of music doesn't justify pirating it.  When I describe your reasons as rationalizations, it is the conclusion of an open-minded consideration, not a close-minded or circular dismissal of them.

I didn't read carefully the discussions surrounding your more than imperfect analogy, but IP is very different than physical objects. This is why you would say that listening to an album by borrowing the CD from my friend is differnt from listening to an album by downloading a copy of it from my friend online. (OMGZ ILLEGAL DOWNLOADING). However, the copy I now have is just not the same as eating an apple, or taking something away from a store.
Perhaps you should have read them.  I fully understand the difference between physical objects and IP--as I've repeatedly made clear in this thread while trying to rebut the horribly misguided "library" analogies proferred by the file sharing supporters.  The apple analogy, however, was meant only to illustrate that stealing--once done--is not made right simply because you don't enjoy what you've stolen.  You had argued that it is okay to steal music if you discover you don't actually enjoy it.  I was merely trying to suggest that was foolish.  For that limited point, the difference between physical and IP objects was not particularly relevant.  I'll try to use simpler analogies in the future.

If someone else other than CLS has anything interesting to say on this subject, in opposition or not, I'd love to hear it. But otherwise, I'm not sure I can take so many faulty arguments. I understand the intuition that filesharing is horrible and unfair to artists, but to not open up to the arguments that artists are really screwed under the current system, seems to me weird and that you really don't care that much about the artists, but that you are obsessed with this idea of stealing.
The closed-mindedness and ignorance of this post amazes me.  Because I have so thoroughly disassembled all your purported justifications, you can do nothing but label my arguments as "faulty" without considering them?  And you try to run away and hide by saying you don't want more of them!  It appears that, although you haven't admitted it, the only justification you think still has any merit is that you are the champion of the little guy.  Well, please demonstrate how your piracy helps the little guy.  As I suggested above, just because the system isn't perfect now does not justify your imposition of an even worse system.  I AM open to the arguments that artists are screwed under the current system.  In fact, many of my arguments against bootlegging were premised on this very fact.  In particular, I suggested that a legal, equitable system would be developing now were it not for piracy perverting the market

I have not been "obsessed with the idea of stealing."  I admit that I have moral and ethical objections to enriching yourself on the fruits of another's labor without so much as a "thank you" to them.  But this is neither the basis of my beliefs nor the key arguments I have been making.  Instead, I have repeatedly made reference to practical considerations.  In case you have problems with short-term memory and reading comprehension, I'll repeat them here:
1. Illegal downloading actually perpetuates the current system, as it diverts demand and thus stifles the development of alternative methods of legal music distribution.  (See, e.g., the almost bankrupt Ruckus.).
2. Illegal downloading leads artists and the music industry to fear digital music, which leads to the imposition of DRM on millions of honest consumers and a hostility toward digital music in general.
3. Illegal downloading DOES divert sales from legitimate channels, which hurts not just "the labels" and the artists but also the hundreds of thousands of "little people" who get jobs from the music industry and legitimate music retailers.  (You have seemed to imply that a world with widespread pirating will somehow confer benefits on these people greater than these harms.  Please provide some evidence or possible explanation for how this is so.)
4. Regardless of whether you think about profits or money, illegal downloading infringes on the intangible intellectual property rights and automony of artists.

There are tons of other practical reasons why illegal downloading, as it is now practised, is not justifiable.  These could include inordinate consumption of bandwidth and computing resources, the transmission of viruses, the development of flourishing networks of child pornography.  I'm not going to get into these, as I think the other practical points that have been discussed are more persuasive.

I know I have been very thorough in my consideration of the ideas in this thread.  I'm sorry, blupblup, that this open-minded thoroughness bores you.  I know it would be much simpler to just accept whatever rationalizations, however ill-founded, that you can come up with for what you do.  You've tried to dismiss my arguments as "faulty" but it is clear that you just don't want to see your [il]logic questioned. 

General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Law School Summers
« on: February 24, 2008, 08:19:52 PM »
if one were to want to do public interest work after graduation, would it make any sense to try to do one summer at firm to work on one's debt while in law school?

i heart hypos.

I think many people do this.  (I think many more people work at a law firm during their 2L summer AND for a few years after graduation to save up some money and pay down loans.)

I would suggest NOT trying to work at a law firm to work on your debt during one summer and then bailing for public interest.  This is because:
1. It seems a little dishonest, since the summer is supposed to be a trial/wooing for future full-time employment.  It doesn't seem fair to go into it intending to bail.
2. Many public interest jobs are much more selective than law firm jobs.  They like to see experience in the relevant area.  So you probably want to work in that area during your summers.
3. Public interest hiring is much less formalized than big law firms.  With PI jobs, "who you know" is much more important than at firms.  You'd have more opportunities to network with PI lawyers if you work in PI during the summer.

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