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Music-Piracy Debate Launches Penn College Spring Lecture Series

A debate on the downloading and sharing of copyright-protected music over the Internet will launch the Spring 2004 Lecture Series at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The music-piracy debate, which will pit Thomas Dolby Robertson against John Perry Barlow, will be held Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Penn’s Inn in the Bush Campus Center at Penn College.

All of the programs in the series, sponsored by the Student Activities Office at Penn College, are free and open to the public.

The Recording Industry of America has undertaken a campaign to stop online music piracy, and college students are facing tougher restrictions to discourage the swapping of copyright-protected music over campus Internet connections.

Robertson, a digital-music pioneer and president of Retro Ringtones LLC, is known for his groundbreaking 1980s recordings and music videos, including “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive.” The five-time Grammy-nominated artist believes that copying a CD is similar to raiding a performer’s home.

Barlow, a former Wyoming rancher and lyricist for the Grateful Dead, co-founded and co-chairs the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He believes the noncommercial copying of a song is no different than listening to it on the radio. His piece on the future of copyright, “The Economy of Ideas,” is taught in law schools, and his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” is posted on many Web sites.

Other programs in the Spring 2004 Lecture Series are:

Daryl Davis “Klan-Destine Relationships” Tuesday, Feb. 10 8 p.m., Penn’s Inn, Bush Campus Center Davis will offer his account of arranging surprise meetings with Ku Klux Klan leaders, who were unaware of his skin color, and attending KKK rallies. He became the recipient of robes and hoods offered by Klan members who rescinded their beliefs. Davis makes supporters out of detractors by proving that his methods work and by issuing this challenge: “I have Klan robes and hoods hanging in my closet, given to me voluntarily by members who have quit the Klan since coming to know me. That’s what I’ve done to improve race relations. How many robes and hoods have you received as a result of your methods?”

Taylor Mali, Slam Poet Tuesday, March 2 8 p.m., CoffeeHouse, Bush Campus Center (Sponsored by the Wildcat Events Board) Mali spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math. In June 2000, he taught his last class and became a full-time professional poet. Since then, he has won the national poetry slam championship two times (for a total of four championships), recorded a CD, published a book, taken up yoga and performed his work all over the world. A native of New York City, Mali was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry.” He was also the villain of the 1997 documentary film, “SlamNation,” which chronicled the National Poetry Slam Championship of 1996.

“Sex Signals” Tuesday, March 23 8 p.m., Penn’s Inn, Bush Campus Center Blending improvisational comedy, education and audience participation, “Sex Signals” will provide a provocative look at the issues of dating, sex and, ultimately, date rape on college campuses. The show explores how mixed messages, gender-role stereotypes and unrealistic fantasies contribute to misunderstandings between the sexes. Although the message is a serious one, the show uses humor throughout to engage audiences in candid discussions about interpersonal relationships. The performers, who are seasoned actors and educators, strike a balance between laughing about the differences between men and women and clearly communicating serious messages about how we treat one another.

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