RIAA President Good People

April 17, 2006 8:00 pm0 comments

To the Editor:

Re: “In the Key of C,” Opinion, Apr. 11

In his column regarding musical alumni, it is unfortunate that Mr. Earle decided to bury the character traits and industry accomplishments that overwhelmingly place Cary Sherman ’68 atop such a list. In his capacity as President of the Recording Industry Association of America, Mr. Sherman represents the legal, policy and business interests of a recording industry that, as music aficionados, we Cornellians choose to support. The filing of lawsuits against people who deliberately pirate music is regrettable, yet entirely justifiable, conduct on the part of the RIAA, as Mr. Sherman seeks to preserve the intellectual and creative property rights that artists so deserve. The protection of all forms of copyright is an essential step in promoting growth and diversity in ideas, speech and practice. In the end, the significant majority of us will be shielded from lawsuits that aim solely to separate the well-intentioned from those with a blatant disregard for the creative rights of others.

One year ago, Mr. Sherman returned to this campus to participate in a “Forum on Digital Copyright” organized by the Student Assembly and sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and Cornell Information Technologies. For three hours, Mr. Sherman demonstrated his upstanding character by boldly addressing many of the concerns raised in Mr. Earle’s column. The initiative and forthrightness demonstrated by Mr. Sherman’s willingness to engage a concerned student body are traits possessed by only the most distinguished of Cornell alumni. If Mr. Earle had attended the above-mentioned panel discussion, his column would more accurately reflect an image of Mr. Sherman based upon integrity and sound business ethics.

For his accomplishments and dedication, Mr. Sherman is certainly deserving of more respect and gratitude. If more of us could follow his lead, Cornell’s list of distinguished alumni would grow and grow.

At this point, we can only hope he is willing to make a future return to this campus.

Joe Rudnick ’08

Organizer, Forum on Digital Copyright

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