Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"I love all the people on here, frolicking around, all happily talking about BREAKING THE DAMN LAW"
-Myself when first posting in a thread on Gaia about Limewire/ISP/Net Neutrality

In a thread where several people were discussing the proper ways to illegally download music/movies, there were only two people discussing the legality of it. The rest were talking about their right to steal from others. This was my opening post into that thread.

“If you could, would you steal a car? Would you steal a purse? Would you steal a boat? Most likely, unless you are a kleptomaniac, you probably said NO to all of those questions. Now, why would you steal a movie/song?”
You should know this quote. It is the line that is at the start of many of your DVDs, usually it features attractive looking ladies and men stealing expensive looking cars. While I think that the ad has good potential, it really does not touch the issue. When you steal a car, you are taking the only one of it that exists; with a song, you are taking a copy. Most people, when asked “if you can make a copy of this car, and take the copy, would you?” would answer with a resounding YES. This is what file sharing is, you are not actually taking an item, you are copying it and taking the replicate (shouldn’t Harrison Ford have retired them all by now?)

Please keep in mind, I am not touching personal use here, that is a different topic for a different day. I am merely touching the sharing and copying of files for other persons.

If you would not steal an actual version of something, what makes you think that you have a right to a copy of the same thing? If I make money per book I sell, then how would selling my book to one person, having that person copy and distribute it to ten others, help me in the long run. Sure, I get my money for selling one book, but I should be getting the money for selling eleven. This is the basic principle of file sharing, and this is why it is wrong.

Now, I really don’t like the slippery slope fallacy, and I hate all fallacies in general, I must use it for this issue. If a person is able and willing to download a file (illegally), odds are that they will do it again. Also, if one person seeds a download, odds are that thousands of people will download it. This is not just speculation, this is supported by current downloading evidence.

Currently, several record, movie, and porn companies are suing users of programs like bit torrent, kazaa, and limewire over their seeding of songs and movies and pleasures. These companies are getting millions of dollars in rewards, and they look as though they are planning on taking on more and more users. This, to me, is a good thing. Persons should be secure in their property, be it real or intellectual. A song is the property of the record company (usually) or the artist, not the property of the person who has a CD. Hopefully, as these cases increase, more and more people will stop downloading illegally.

You are wondering why it is that I am talking about this. Admit it, you know you were. I am talking about this for the same reason I keep talking about parents and their teens. who is the main downloader of illegal things? TEENS. Who will pay for the teens actions if they go to court? PARENTS. Yep, once again, I am looking at parental responsibility. You would not let your kids steal from others, beat people up, or anything like that, so why are you letting them use the internet to steal properties? Step up, police what they are doing, and teach them what not to do. Windows XP, Vista, and I believe OSX all have controls you can use to stop this sort of thing. Various flavors of Linux do as well.

As I keep saying, it is the parents responsibility here to make sure that their kids are following the law. Take their phone away. Take their computer away. Take their car away. Sure, they may hate you, but you are a parent, not a friend. Start acting like it.

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