When copying is easy, there is almost no intrinsic scarcity, and therefore market value collapses. There’s an endless debate about whether file sharing is “stealing.” It’s an argument I’d like to avoid, since I don’t really care to have a moral position on a software function. Copying in the abstract is vapid and neutral.
It would be unfair to demand that people cease pirating files when those same people are not paid for their participation in very lucrative networks.
To get ahead of the argument a little, my position is that we eventually shouldn’t “pirate” files, but it’s premature to condemn people who do it today. It would be unfair to demand that people cease sharing / pirating files when those same people are not paid for their participation in very lucrative network schemes. Ordinary people are relentlessly spied on, and not compensated for information taken from them.
While I would like to see everyone eventually pay for music and the like, I would not ask for it until there’s reciprocity.
What matters most is whether we are contributing to a system that will be good for us all in the long term. If you never knew the music business as it was, the loss of what used to be a significant middle-class job pool might not seem important. I will demonstrate, however, that we should perceive an early warning for the rest of us.
Copying a musician’s music ruins economic dignity. It doesn’t necessarily deny the musician any form of income, but it does mean that the musician is restricted to a real-time economic life. That means one gets paid to perform, perhaps, but not paid for music one has recorded in the past.