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Let free music files ring

THE RECORD companies, seeking to bully people who share music, have demanded that colleges identify students who share ("Record firms crack down on campuses," Business, March 8). They use smear terms such as "piracy" and "theft" that imply sharing is wrong. Don't believe it. Sharing is friendship; to attack sharing is to attack the basis of society.

Today's legal music downloads are not an acceptable option, since they carry Digital Restrictions Management (called Digital Rights Management by its proponents) to restrict what people do with the files they have "bought." Therefore, as founder of the free software movement, I support the boycott of these products.

The real solution is to legalize sharing. This won't affect the record companies much, but if they did go out of business, we could rejoice that they can no longer threaten anyone.

They pay zero cents of your CD purchase price to musicians (except for superstars), so the absence of these companies would be no loss to society.

For the short term, colleges should make sure they do not collect information that could be used to identify students who share.

RICHARD STALLMAN
Cambridge

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