Downloading Music is Piracy!

Dave is, as he would say, full of sh*t today.

[Correction: After reading Dave's Why they hate me post, I have to say Dave is not full of sh*t today.  He is full of sh*t just in the post mentioned below.]

In It's not really piracy, Dave writes:

Calling it piracy views it only from the perspective of an obsolete distribution system. They see their revenue declining because the service they provide isn't worth anything. The Internet provides efficiency in distribution that cuts out the middle man. Since the industry pays little or no money to the artist, the users can have the music, if you cut out the distributors, for $0. To blame that on people who use music is to miss the historic trend. Users are just behaving economically, not unethically; and it's even arguable that they are behaving legally.

I sympathize with musicians who are being enslaved by the music industry labels and believe Internet technologies can and will free them eventually.  But using them to justify ethical failures or advocate new business models amounts to cowardly and selfish acts.  If people really wants to solve this problem, they should first learn to see straight instead of making up false and delusionary images.

Suppose you bought a country house with apple trees in the backyard which you never tended to.  What Dave is saying amounts to saying that if apples fall from the tree and roll downhill to a public road, anybody can take those apples because the owner never tended to the trees.  Nonesense.  If they didn't know where the apple came from, they are excusable and should be excused.  But if they are doing it knowingly, that is theft and it doesn't matter who the owner is nor whether he is a beastly fellow.

Just as atrocities are made easier by demonizing opponents, we are demonizing the music industry and planting seeds of wide-spread self-justified corruption into our young in the name of newage morality.  Piracy is piracy whether the pirate is a sleezy character or a 13 year-old girl.  Whether she should be punished or not is irrelevant to the definition of the word.

I am not faulting people for falling to temptations for I have fallen as well in the past.  When Napster became popular, I downloaded many MP3 files.  It was amazingly convenient and, as a geek, it opened new possibilities.  But I have never denied the fact that what I was doing was stealing because doing so will damage me more than I could ever gain from free music.