Remember the days of driving to a music store, ambling around for while before finding your next favorite CD, then actually going to the register to pay for it before taking it home? Those days vanished with the introduction of iTunes and Napster. Now kids just download their favorite songs right at their computers and never even have to leave their houses. Even after Napster’s downfall, this practice continues every day. Although there has been a lot of talk in the past couple of years about illegal downloading and its consequences, the fact remains that many people, especially of college-age, continue to download music, movies, software and television shows. The consequence of jail-time is of little concern for most because the actual percentage of people who download and go to jail remains small. However, this activity may now affect people in a way never expected.
A recent college graduate’s job search may become even more difficult due to the increased awareness of this issue. Employers now state that an applicant’s job may depend on whether or not he or she illegally downloads digital software from the Internet, according to a survey of 954 corporate managers who hire or supervise recent college graduates and 523 people who graduated from college within the past five years. BusinessWeek Research Services conducted the study in February and March of 2006.
The study found that 85 percent of hiring managers say that an applicant’s attitude toward file sharing would impact their decision. Also, if this behavior starts after the applicant has already been hired, most managers state that the consequences could be as harsh as termination.
“Students need to know that they may be putting their future careers in jeopardy if they are illegally downloading. The consequences of illegal downloading and file sharing may impact the hiring process,” says Diane Smiroldo, vice president of public affairs for Business Software Alliance (BSA).
BSA promotes “a safe and legal digital world.” Established in 1988, the company is growing faster than any other industry in the world. It has programs in more than 800 countries in the world and has conducted over 30 studies on the illegal downloading issue. It promotes “global policies that foster innovation, growth and a competitive marketplace for commercial software and related technologies,” according to their Web site www.BSA.org
Illegal downloading could also affect students in a completely different way. According to the survey, “last year the U.S. lost nearly $7 billion as a result of software piracy.” This statistic means that there will be fewer jobs for students after graduation.
Abby Boos, WCU junior business major, who often illegally downloads music states, “I do not understand how it can affect my future job if I continue downloading now, but it will deter me from the practice after college.”
Illegal downloading is such a common practice now that many students may not even know the rules as to what is legal and illegal. Here are a few instances where downloading is illegal, according to www.definetheline.com:
-Installing the latest commercial software program from a friend – Just to try it out for a while
-Buying a single-user commercial software program and installing it on multiple computers.
-Copying a new commercial software program to share with friends.
Losing a job and a smaller job pool are two major reasons to stop this illegal activity. However, these are not the only reasons to stop downloading. Viruses can be downloaded along with other items that can slow your computer down or even make it crash.
College students need to become more aware of the impact downloading software can have on their futures. When viewed in this way, most students will start to rethink the importance of getting the newest version of their favorite program. The free cost of the software might cost more than you think.