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DJ Cheap Cologne to discuss file sharing at Coffee and Conversation

DJ Cheap Cologne, a mash-up artist, will talk about the ethics of sampling at Friday's Coffee and Conversation. Photo courtesy of DJ Cheap Cologne

Can a copyright violation also be an art form?

DJ Cheap Cologne, a mash-up musician who samples the work of other artists to create new songs, will spin tunes and discuss entertainment and technology issues in the semester’s first Coffee and Conversation, scheduled for Friday, September 16, at 2 p.m. in the George Sherman Union ballroom. He will also perform in BU Central at 10 p.m.

The event, titled But I Thought That Sharing Was Good! Why Can’t I Share This File? will be hosted by Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore and is intended to help students think about the ethics and ramifications of downloading and sharing music and movie files. Dean Garfield, the director of legal affairs for worldwide antipiracy at the Motion Picture Association of America, will also participate.

“People need to think about file sharing and downloading without permission the same way they think about academic dishonesty, and that is, you can’t take the work of another and use it without permission to do so,” says Elmore. “This is, I hope, a unique and innovative way to do it, and it might go a little farther than just sledgehammering people with lawsuits.”

DJ Cheap Cologne is best known for his Double Black Album, a mash-up of the Black Albums created independently by rap artist Jay-Z and metal band Metallica. He will discuss copyright violations and the ethics of sampling during the first hour of Coffee and Conversation. Garfield, who previously was the vice president of legal affairs for the Recording Industry Association of America, will discuss the legal ramifications of downloading movies and music.

The RIAA sued 25 BU students for illegal file-sharing activity last spring; over the summer, the Office of the General Counsel received a subpoena from the organization requesting the names of the students, who had been identified by their user names on file-sharing services. Crystal Talley, a University associate general counsel, says that the RIAA ultimately requested fewer than 25 names, which were provided to the court.

Friday’s Coffee and Conversation will be the first of two Constitution education events scheduled this semester to educate students about the law and social justice. A performance by the troupe Discovering Justice, which holds interactive mock trials based on historical events, is scheduled for Thursday, September 22, at 6 p.m. in Metcalf Hall.