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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One More Time With Feeling....Illegal Downloading is Stealing

Ehhh...I know, once again with the horrendous titles.

I know this topic has been done to death, and my stance is not new or profound, but it just really frustrates me how intelligent and otherwise honest folk can rationalize illegal downloading as anything other than theft.

1st off a confession. I am a hypocrite. I have in the past downloaded both songs and movies. Not many, but some. In the case of movies or tv shows it was always something that for whatever reason I couldn’t get my hands on it or at least couldn’t get my hands on it in what I deemed an acceptable time frame. (bullshit)

Then one day I was talking to someone who made a regular habit of downloading. This person steals video games, movies, songs, computer programs ect.. on a daily basis. They have thousands of dollars worth of stuff that they have no right owning. The kicker is this isn’t a poor kid. He or she lives with his or her parents or at least on their dime. He or she has no reason not to pay for it, except he or she doesn’t want too. Then it hit me, neither did I. What I had done, while not on the same level, was just as wrong. It was stealing and if I were prosecuted for it. I’d pay my penance. But what I won’t do is rationalize it and try to act like I’m just. And I’ve not downloaded a thing since.

I work with a couple of really good guys or gals. Except for the fact they steal movies and video games on a regular to semi regular basis. The 1st person I mentioned was kind of douche and none too bright anyway, but these others are otherwise good kids, that don't see what they are doing as wrong and certainly not stealing.

What happened to us?

I’ve heard the arguments. It’s just copying, like coping tapes in the day. Or I only download it to check it out, then if I like it I buy it (that’s complete bull by the way)/ or that illegal downloading drives sales (so what if it does? The ends justify the means?) Or that only big companies are hurt by it, by downloading we’re “sticking it to the man.” (again bull) The big guys will always find a way to make their money. It’s the struggling artists that are hurt. And yeah, I’ve head the argument that it helps them. (And if I’m wrong and it does help them, that still doesn’t make it right.) I’ve also heard people say they download cuz they can’t afford to buy. (SAY WHAT! Funny thing is, I’d be willing to bet good money that a larger percent of downloader are from affluent families. *We know they at least have access to a computer and Internet.)

I’ve also heard a lot of legal rationalizations on how it’s not really theft. But all of these are just that…Rationalizations. Just because you can find a legal loophole or a positive side effect doesn’t make an unjust act just.

Taking something in any form that you would otherwise pay for is just plain wrong. It really is that simple. Everythign else is just noise.

I suppose we live in a society where everything is so readily available, that we’ve begun to feel that we’re entitled to what we want, whenever we want it, however we can get it and this sense of entitlement overrides morality.

Maybe that's it.

Or maybe I'm just wrong. It wouldn't be the 1st time.

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