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University of Iowa News Release

Jan. 25, 2005

UI To Host Debate, Discussion Of Music Downloading Feb. 2

For generations, young people have scoffed at the music of their elders. In recent years, it's not just the music, but also the medium that has drawn derision as LP's and eight-tracks gave way to compact discs and MP3s. The digital age has given rise to a host of new issues about how music is created, acquired and shared, pitting listeners against the recording industry in a battle over downloading.

University of Iowa students will debate the ethics of downloading and suing music downloaders at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2, in Van Allen Hall Lecture Room 2. Students who are members of the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum will engage in 45 minutes of debate, to be followed by a roundtable discussion with music industry representatives, local musicians and a UI law professor. The event, which is free and open to the public, is the kickoff for the Semester of Intellectual Properties organized by Kembrew McLeod, UI assistant professor of communication studies, and sponsored by the UI Project on Rhetoric of Inquiry.

In addition to the UI debaters, participants include John L. Simson, executive director of SoundExchange, a nonprofit performance rights organization; Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, a nonprofit think tank with the goal to educate musicians and the public about issues shaping the policy debate in music/technology; David Zollo, a UI alumnus, local musician, and founder/owner of Trailer Records, an independent record label; and Christina Bohannan, UI associate professor of law.

More information about the participants is available online,

McLeod said he hopes the debate and discussion will trigger students to think about intellectual property and their role in protecting it. "The issue of downloading music is an important one for undergraduates, especially because a lot of them do it and risk being sued," he said. "This will be a great opportunity for students, music industry experts and musicians to engage in a more nuanced discussion about these copyright controversies possibly potential solutions."

To encourage appropriate music downloading and to provide extra incentive for students to attend, McLeod will give the first 150 people who arrive for the debate a one-month free trial membership to the Rhapsody digital music subscription service. Rhapsody is a "celestial jukebox" that gives users unlimited access to tens of thousands of albums right from their computers. Rhapsody offers what it calls the "largest legal collection of digital music in the world, the Internet's best radio, flexible CD burning, and detailed music information - all in one easy-to-use service." More information about Rhapsody may be found at

McLeod also will distribute 10 free CDs with music by the Beastie Boys, Chuck D, Danger Mouse, David Byrne and Gilberto Gil from the organization Creative Commons.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Program: Kembrew McLeod, 319-335-0582,; Writer: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011.