Originally Posted by caper_1
I still think you are confusing morality with right & wrong. There is a very big difference.
Downloading mp3's: wrong. but is it Morally wrong? Mp3's are also not even a copy of the original. What if I download a song but never listened to it? Did I benefit in any way ?
One day, one day, I will no longer have to point out the illogic of this argument, which has been getting tossed out since the mid-90s, and it's even more wrong now than it was then. Everyone knows that taking what doesn't belong to them, without permission, is just wrong. It doesn't matter if the person you took it from ever misses it or needs it, or whether you immediately get any benefit from it. Robin Hood sounds great unless you are the person he's robbing. The fact that someone who stole from you turned around and gave it away doesn't make any difference. If you died tomorrow and had no relatives to leave your stuff to, and I broke into your house and took your TV, no one would be inconvenienced in any way or miss that TV. But no reasonably moral person would do it, because it's not about whether you were inconvenienced or not. It's wrong because I would be taking something that's not mine without permission or compensation.
And the main reason why this argument is wrong is that when the number of people taking those MP3s are 1% or 2% of the population, then it doesn't much matter. When there are as many songs being stolen as paid for, then it clearly is a problem. It clearly is stealing in every sense of the word. All these people aren't hardened criminals or people who would never buy music if they couldn't steal it. Enormous amounts of music that would have been purchased by a moral person is being stolen instead. And it's no longer remotely a victimless crime. The effects on the music industry are significant and they have been widely publicized, and therefore people are doing it knowing full well the consequences of their actions. How is that not immoral?
The standard ad absurdium response to this position of yours is, if I came up with a machine that could copy cars, and I decided to copy those cars and give them away, would that be immoral? Of course it would be. What I'm copying only has value because people worked hard to create something that had value. I didn't do anything to create that value, but I destroy the ability of the people who did to get compensated for that work. It doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the car company still has the cars, and I didn't take any of them. That's infantile logic to argue that that means nothing wrong was done. I've destroyed the incentive to create that value anymore, and I've done so by taking something I didn't create (the value of a designed, built, and delivered car.) The actual car is irrelevant in this case. I've stolen the value.
So, though no one actually took any cars off the car lot without paying, I've destroyed an industry and all the jobs that goes with it. And before you whip out the other baseless argument of, well no no one is guaranteed success in business, face the fact that this would be very destructive to society as a whole, as IP theft is. The end result of this thinking is ever less (and lower quality) music, movies, and software, because people aren't going to do the hard work to create it unless they get compensated for it. And the people who are still paying for it aren't going to continue to pay more and more (necessary as the legal market shrinks) to support the ever growing number of people who are stealing it without consequences. More and more of them will start stealing it as well. So those actions also encourage others to steal, which is also clearly immoral, IMO. And clearly we've already experienced this cycle quite significantly.
The level of rationlization of wrong doing on this subject boggles my mind. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the internet is The Lord of the Flies writ large. It's living proof that even otherwise reasonable people will, if they can get away with it, do things that they know are wrong. The fact that they then try to rationlize it makes it even scarier.