Is movie downloading and file sharing equal stealing? Despite advertising campaigns that compare pirate downloading of a movie to stealing a DVD from a store, and a battery of lawyers that sue file sharing services, many law abiding citizens are still involved in downloading movies, music, software and other copyright protected content.
Illegal downloading is a big problem, says Stuart P. Green, a law professor at Rutgers College in a column in the New York Times, but it is not theft and it should be judged according to more relevant and updated moral standards, he claims. “If Cyber Bob illegally downloads Digital Joe’s song from the Internet, it’s crucial to recognize that, in most cases, Joe hasn’t lost anything.”
Between Rapidshare and Youtube Sharing
According to Green, the fact that artists deserve being paid for their art is not arguable; but consuming a music CD or a movie without paying the charged fee is not the same as breaking into a store or robbing someone’s car. Not when at the same time, sharing commonly copyrighted files on legitimate platforms such as Youtube and Pinterest is an indisputable activity.
Whether downloading and file sharing is stealing or another offense is not a semantic issue and it affects the way we accept legal cases against Rapidshare or Napster in the far past. In Green’s words:
“We should stop trying to shoehorn the 21st-century problem of illegal downloading into a moral and legal regime that was developed with a pre- or mid-20th-century economy in mind. Framing illegal downloading as a form of stealing doesn’t, and probably never will, work. We would do better to consider a range of legal concepts that fit the problem more appropriately: concepts like unauthorized use, trespass, conversion and misappropriation.”
Artists against Downloading
Obviously, this stance is not accepted by everyone, especially not by artists. Metallica, Elton John, Sheryl Crow are some of the artists who have spoken publicly against illegal downloading, claiming the act hurts not just the musicians, who strives to earn money from their hard work creation, but also the people who are involved in the creation of the CD: the CD sleeve designers and photographers, the people who work in the plants that produce the CDs.
Chad Gray, the vocalist of the heavy metal band Mudvayne wrote for MTV (was quoted on NoiseCreep) about the common perception that illegal downloading hurts the labels and not the artists:
“At the end of the day, you’re hurting the people that you look up to or that get you through hard times, or people you just love. Next time you download something without paying for it, remember that it’s the bands that’s really gonna take the hit.”
SPEEdbit does not endorse the above nor does it encourage activity of any kind. We simply provide a platform for sharing of opinions in this important topic.