Is file-sharing morally wrong?

August 19, 2008

keyboardhand-sherwincrasto.jpgA woman who shared a pinball game online has been ordered to pay 16,000 pounds in compensation and legal costs to its creator.

The Patents County Court in London ruled in favour of TopWare Interactive, a U.S. computer game developer that said she had infringed its copyright.

The case is the latest attempt by the entertainment industry to try to protect its music, games and films from growing threat of online piracy, which it says is killing business.

Quicker Internet connections have sparked a boom in people swapping music, films or TV programmes.

The Recording Industry Association of America says file sharing has hit profits, put songwriters out of work and made it harder for new bands to get a contract.

“The crime is theft,” it says on its website. “Everyone who makes, enjoys or earns a living in music is hurt.”

File sharers hotly dispute that argument.

Copyright infringement is not the same as theft because the owner is not deprived of their property.

You wouldn’t expect to end up in court if you loaned a book or DVD to a friend, they argue. So why should it be any different with digital tracks or films?

Cracking down on file sharers will simply drive them further underground, making it even harder for companies to make money out of their content, according to contributors on the Open Rights Group website

Regardless of the legal arguments, do you think file sharing is morally wrong? Do you think it stifles creativity by reducing the amount available to spend on new acts?

73 comments

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This has been a hot topic since the beginning of home recording technologies and the “debate” will never cease.

Due to the belief that all roads lead to piracy and that digital piracy of goods is a ‘bad thing’, we’re seeing individual rights being dissolved, privacy being violated and people dictating how we enjoy our movies and music and the like… limiting innovation for fear of loss in profits without actually conducting research that may demonstrate a greater return on their investments should the cease this wild goose chase.

There is no conclusive un-biased evidence that can link so-called digital piracy to negative impacts on sales of popular media. The ongoing “fight” is mere evidence that the current model of distribution for most popular media, along with the law protecting it, is antiquated and in need of heavy revision. It no longer works in the best interest of anyone at all really…
People are afraid of new ideas and always have been.

The truth is, the question of whether file sharing is “moral or not” is very subjective. It depends entirely on the intentions of the individual. One way of looking at it – In some countries, the law only punishes those who commit the act of file SHARING rather than those whom actively seek shared goods. If there is a middle ground at all, I don’t believe punishing individuals for accessing content available is the solution as they’re not the ones causing the problem.

I for one do not support raw piracy, but the ‘path of least resistance’ –
Obtaining a new or hard to find album digitally is convenient, “green” and instantly gratifying. I think less often piracy happens because of the cost of the products but rather because there have been more innovations in stealing music than selling it!

Stop hiring lawyers and start hiring developers and you’ll see a lot more return on your investment.

Posted by adam | Report as abusive

Hi,

I don’t feel file sharing is wrong at all.
If I want to send a file to my own family which I have purchased not for commercial but domestic use, then why not. It is my decision whether or not I want to share my stuff. For Eg, If I buy a car and want other members to use it , they can drive it, the car company cannot sue for the reason that the car is driven by someone else other than the registered owner.

Posted by Vinay Pereira | Report as abusive

Copyright holders always claim that every file downloaded is a lost sale. It’s not. People fill their iPODs and MP3 players with thousands of tracks that they may never play – downloaded themselves or passed on by friends. If they had to buy them, they wouldn’t. On the other hand, they might just listen to the track and like it, resulting in a much bigger purchase. For the copyrightholder, it’s like free advertising. It really is a new world out there and it’s time the new reality wa accepted for what it is.

Posted by Gerry | Report as abusive

I guess you could argue that file sharing is no worse than lending a DVD to someone.
Also… the figures you hear that file sharing costs x amount each year for this and that industry are fantasy. Say someone downloads 100 songs from a file sharing site… had they bought them it may have cost around £70-£80? There is no way you could argue they would have spent that money were they not able to get them for free.

File sharing does give artists exposure they wouldn’t otherwise get, and many benefit especially when it comes to concert tickets and their ability to publicise themselves.

I do get free material, copies from friends etc, but I also spend a lot of money on real CD’s and concert tickets… probably as my interst is heightened by being able to ‘afford’ a much wider selection of new music.

Similarly I see the odd film on DVD, but I also go to the cinema regularly and buy a lot of genuine DVD’s.

It’s not as black and white as… file sharing kills the industry.

Posted by Grant | Report as abusive

The only problem is that no trace of the case’s existence can be found.

Posted by David Gerard | Report as abusive

I have to agree with Gerry on this one.
My mp3 player is of full of music, most of which i would never fork out any cash for. For these bands to claim a lost sale is just not true.
More often than not i have downloaded a couple of songs from a band then ended up buying their album because i liked it!

Posted by iain | Report as abusive

It’s a corporate lie, easily swallowed it seems, that they are trying to kill file sharing to protect the musicians/game developers etc. What cr*p. Ask any musician who’s had to start at the bottom whether the corporate bodies respect their intellectual property – in most cases the corporate will buy the rights for a pittance, or pay a royalty of laughable proportions. The same applies in the development world, where the individuals who actually create the ideas are “owned” by the corporates so that anything they create is contractually signed over to the corporate.
Personally I see this as a “come uppance” a long time coming that is well deserved by the 3rd party distributors, who are actually the ones who are being hurt by this (my heart pumps purple custard for them – may they drown in their own marketing spiel). Copyright laws as they stand are antiquated and hopelessly outdated for the current world. The whole situation needs a new approach (and fewer greedy business men).

Posted by Teper | Report as abusive

To say that is not stealing is absurd. You are getting something that someone owns without paying for it when they want you to pay for it. It is the same as you going into a car dealership, making an exact copy of a car there (somehow for free) and then driving it off. What’s the big deal, right? The car dealership didn’t lose anything.

Comparing it to lending a DVD is comparing apples to oranges. The difference between sharing a DVD and sharing music is that when you lend out a DVD you don’t have it anymore. If you want to argue that you should be able to share music, but by having one person download it you can no longer listen to it until they give it back, then by all means, that’s the same.

And to argue that it *generates* sales is also absurd. Sure, there are a few people who go out and buy a CD/online music when they steal a song they like, but for every one of those there are surely 10 that never pay for music at all.

If you think the laws are antiquated, then propose an alternative. Music as a service? That might work if everyone wasn’t already getting their music for free.

Posted by Jamie | Report as abusive

Gosh, as an older music lover I remember buying a 78 record of some favorite tunes – had to pay copyright fees, later I got some 45s of the same tunes, had to pay copyright fees (over again), later the same tunes but on 8 track, later reel to reel tape, later cassette, still later CD – hmm same tunes and I’ve paid copyright fees about 7 times, plus here in Canada there is a levy charged on each and every blank CD that goes to pay copyright fees just in case the CDs are used to record music that has a copyright on it. Seems the artists don’t benefit from all this – just the distributors or whoever has bought up the rights to the tunes.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

This reminds me of a coworker I had a long time ago. This guy was working part-time at where I worked, as a computer tech and was concurrently attending a seminary in order to become a priest.

He revealed to us that he’s never ever bought a piece of software in his life. Every software he got was copied or downloaded. One female coworker commented that “hey isn’t that a sin?”

He wisely replied…”The Bible does not say ‘Thou shall not copy software.’”

:)

Posted by RC | Report as abusive

File sharing cannot be morally wrong :
1. File Sharing both promotes and publicises the author. It does so, however, without lining the pockets of corporations.
2. My friends live across the globe and it should be my prerogative to host and share my portfolio of music/movie/documents/games for my/their pleasure!!!

Posted by Bottom Line | Report as abusive

The purpose of file sharing is to avoid paying for it. The reason that copyright laws exist is to create a market so that a creator can benefit, otherwise there is no incentive to create anything, other than the sheer enjoyment of being creative. The alternative of having no copyright would simply mean that there would be no incentive to be creative, and what good would come of that?

Simply, it just means that your choice is between a capitalist or communist system; we have evolved into this managed managed economic state and I doubt if most people would want to go back to the Dark Ages. So, if you don’t like the present system and won’t pay for it, suffer the consequences or move somewhere else.

Posted by Neil | Report as abusive

@Jamie & Neil

Wow got to love people standing up for the giant, mega corporations…

No matter how much you convince yourself DOWNLOADING is not a crime. PERIOD. Uploading a file for sharing can be considered a crime as you’re giving something you ‘shouldn’t’ but even that is suggestive as to how copyright is affected.

Theft would be depriving someone of something they had, as in taking it away from them. Downloading a copy of a file is not theft because the copyright holder still has the track/movie/game. They just have to come up with better ways to convince people to buy them.

The fact is this ‘top gaming company’ is pathetic, and this is the most money they’ve probably every made off a game. And it was on a decision that defaulted because the woman didn’t turn up!

Ever wonder why none of the big companies make a move on file sharing? Because they know that the legal basis is so thin on the ground, it’s highly likely they would lose and would then never be able to scare a couple of people with legal threats.

This is one of the funniest stories I’ve seen in a while. Not going to stop me though.

Posted by SteveoXP | Report as abusive

I have a DVD re-writer & CD Re-writer that can copy films, CD’s and most data. This was sold to me by SONY – they are quite happy to take my money and sell me this equipment. There was no warning on it as to what it can be used for or can’t be.

Sony would be part of the music giants now moaning people are using equipment and in my case supplied by them!

Posted by Lisa | Report as abusive

How long before they start suing you when your family and friends just listen to CD’s you paid for…
Music industry is taking anti-piracy measures to its extremes. The measures lack the spirit to protect artists interests and often have vested interests of the corporate pockets.

Posted by Parth | Report as abusive

There is nothing wrong or illegal about file sharing. It is not a criminal act and is in no way immoral. The internet service providers are to blame for any breach of copyright control as they have the power as do law enforcement agencies to take the material off the internet in the first instance; so why don’t they do just that instead of blaming innocent teenagers who download songs and films simply because they are there in the first place. If the action of file sharing is simply for personal use and not for commercial purposes
then I see no breach of copyright rules.
Publishing companies like Sony are just greedy for more profit so don’t start moaning about poor old Pink Floyd etc; they ought to donate more to charity than try to make money from hard up teenagers.

Posted by marcus | Report as abusive

I can just see it now, I visit my relations over the festive season and there is a movie on the T.V. or Nat King Cole is on the Hi-Fi in the back ground when there’s a knock on the door. It’s the Copyright Squad to check if everyone watching or listing has a valid upto date licence to do so.

Posted by olympiad | Report as abusive

What I find morally wrong, is all those people charging a fortune with the sole purpose of amassing huge fortunes, without any real interest in the artist’s work. If they wanted to be really true to the artists they should research people’s habits and reactions and try to incorporate the trends into their promotion and sales. And it is everybody’s right to do whatever they want with their property, once a cd/dvd or whatever is bought, the owner has the full rights on how to treat this object. Copyright laws should really extend only to those parts of the market that really have economical gains and not to the simple customer.

Posted by AK | Report as abusive

File sharing as such is neither moral or immoral, it depends what is being shared, but even then it is often far from clear whether it’s right or wrong.
As Dave noted above, he has already bought music, some many times, and paid copyright each time. So have I. So why should I not be able to legally download an mp3 of something I already own on another medium to save myself the bother of converting my copy for the mp3 player?
On a deper level there is also the matter of politics and big business. I strongly support artists being properly recompensed for their creativity but feel the current copyright system has created an artificial commercial market in copyright trading which simply rides on the back of artists. It fails to provide incentive for innovation and thus fails the very people it is meant to protect.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

I’m 55, I bought the music I like when it was on LPs, then i bought it again when it came out on CDs. How many times do I have to “re-licence” the same music?

Do i download music for free?,….every chance i get. I figure I’ve paid for it at least twice now.

Posted by Sloppy | Report as abusive

The copyright laws are NOT so that the artist would benefit. Did you notice that 99% of those cases are initiated/supported by the huge corporations, not artists themselves? Because corporations are the ones that get the MAJOR portion of the money paid for a song. They always scream “artists are getting ripped off”. Well, it’s not the artists, it’s the Sony and such that are getting ripped off of their “copyright fees”, which is why the frivolous law suits.
Did you ever hear of an independent artist ever suing anybody for downloading their music? Neither have I.

Comparing downloading music to making a copy of a free car is bogus – you don’t buy 10 cars every week, and you don’t try 20 different manufacturer cars for a week to see which one you want to buy.

Posted by tq | Report as abusive

file sharing is wrong.

but come on, music and films that are easily available online are already ‘popular’ in terms of sales and promotion, e.g kanye west and kung fu panda. So they’ve already made their money.

So if you’re like me, and you like obscure music and film, you have to buy. try downloading Sissel or the movie Pi, you’d go around in circles for days. Hence we BUY obsure art, and download the popular and platinum selling Kanye West. believe me, downloading popular artist doesn’t hurt nobody’s pocket at all.

In my experience people who like quality art would rather buy “The fountain” by Darren Aronfsky that get it as a download. But there is no guilt at all from downloading $250 mil grossing Kung fu panda.

Posted by kinduun | Report as abusive

oh and yes, people download stuff they’d never listen to again, it just sits there in their machines. 100s of mp3.

if they had to buy they’d never buy.

hence i can add that Gerry, above, is right

Posted by kinduun | Report as abusive

“Is file-sharing morally wrong?”

No.

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

One of the biggest problems with this case as far as I am concerned is the prosecutions are based on a lie.
IP addreses are NOT unique to an individual.
Many many Isp’s share them aol for one as any person who owns an internet forum can tell you.

I would class uploading for profit wrong, but downloading for personal use ( especially when you pay a news provider) as not morally wrong.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive

oh no you had better arrest all dj’s as they to are sharing music & the people who run these event do not pay a fee to the riaa or who ever to share there favorite music, also you better arrest all those that play music loud during the day to because the are sharing music!
if i want to let people download a copy of a cd that i purchased then i will let them & they may also do the same.

i guess all the industies money making schemes are not paying enough so they come up with this great idea to scare the public & get cash.

it’s all stupid & out of order

leave us alone

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

i also remember not so long ago that a great techno artist DJ ROLANDO made a song called ‘Knights of the jaguar’
sony thought it was good & asked if they could release it, DJ rolando said no BUT sony decided to ignore that & released it anyway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and they say file sharing is wrong

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

Some people are not greedy and like to share. I suggest consumers boycott these facists.

Posted by Quing | Report as abusive

Taking something you have not paid for is wrong…

Charging 15 quid for a 25p cd is also wrong….

Where has the uproar been for the last 15 years?

Frankly I think the sharing of music is naughty, but the record companies REALLY had it coming.

Copying a friends legit copy of a song is nothing new.

oh and before you moan about the poor artists…. ask a record company how much of the 15 quid per album the artist saw…….

Posted by Ian | Report as abusive

1 question for all,can someone tell me y the media space is getting larger like harddrives,ipods,blueray….because of the demand in space, a music will take up 4-6mb in space 1cd=25 songs =£10-£30. 1 hard drive can fit 300,000 songs depending on the space of the hard drive, that would mean me paying £10,000 for all thoes songs, who in the hell would pay that amount off money. excluding millionares :)

Posted by adiii | Report as abusive

There are a million programs out there that hide your ip number from anyone or any firm,that no trace can be directed back to your address.Every time you log onto net,you have a total diffrent i.p number .200.145.78.21.1
next time you log on,even if just a minute away 300.154.89.14 diffrent ip everytime you log on.They wont stop file sharing its totally impossible to do that.

Posted by James | Report as abusive

It is wrong. But the music industry needs to lower the cost of downloads. The download version of the music cost just as much as CD. Make songs 10 cents each or 2 dollars a album and see what happens. But in any case file sharing will always be there in some form

Posted by bob C | Report as abusive

I am in my 50′s. A lot of the classic rock I listen to is no longer available in music stores where I bought LP’s and cassettes in the past and now the players are obsolete. If the music industry put out CD’s full of music instead of 1 or 2 good songs and the rest filler, I’d be tempted to buy it, but I’d have to download it first to determine if its any good or mostly filler tracks. I can watch a movie trailer online and see about 5 min of action, then go buy the DVD and find out that was all there was. To the entertainment industry, quit putting out junk and people may actually go back to lining your pockets. The claims of piracy hurting the artist is BS, the only people affected, I wouldn’t say hurting are the fat cats who rob the artists blind. Who makes money off of piracy? The ISP’s who sell the bandwidth.

Posted by Tomcat | Report as abusive

Just like the legalize marijuana debate, it’s always those in favour that are loudest, typing things in capital letters and using statements like “FACT.” and “Period.” If only you could put this type of effort into proper issues like human rights or dictatorships. Instead you have a bunch of people whining about how it’s their right to get something free. It’s not. Just to clarify, I am in no way a fan of mega corporations, but I’m tired of hearing the same things again and again from each side. By buying the product you are sending a message corporations understand: I want you to make stuff like this. By downloading, you are telling the corporation: make something that appeals to the lowest common denominator as otherwise you won’t make any money. That’s why the theatres are full of remakes and sequels, why hip hop sells, and why games are being dumbed down. You keep saying it doesn’t hurt anyone, but it does. It hurts us all by limiting what gets made in the future.

Posted by Doghouse | Report as abusive

Not only is file sharing wrong, but even LISTENING to the CD you purchased is wrong. You purchased the CD itself, a piece of plastic. That’s all you get. Seriously, I say to hell with these greedy recording companies.

Posted by Coodgy | Report as abusive

i didnt do it guv
either my ip was used by a masking prog on someone elses pc
or my wireless network has been hijacked by a neighbour
reasonable doubt
case closed

Posted by Frosty | Report as abusive

The way I see it, file sharing by itself cannot possibly be considered wrong. File sharing is simply what it is, and there are plenty of legal uses for it. It only becomes an issue when sharing something that is copyrighted.

I can only think that if I download a piece of software that I haven’t paid for that must be wrong (or at least against the law). Whether the software (or film/music/whatever) is overpriced, or the profit being made by a company/producer instead of the creator is irrelevant legally, since said producer has a contract with the creator. The other part is if you upload something copyrighted (say with a torrent file) then potentially you’re sharing with hundreds or even thousands of other people all around the world.

Now the conclusion I reach with that is to say, “Yes it’s wrong, but I don’t frankly care enough about that so I’ll do it anyway”. There are a few things that put an amount of reasonable doubt into the eyes of those trying to track down people doing this:

a) One method might be to connect to the torrent swarm and take a screenshot of the IP addresses connecting and sending/receiving data. But a screenshot is only an image file, which could easily be manipulated to show a false IP address. What would stop someone faking such a screenshot to nab someone they only ‘suspect’ of downloading such data?

b) If such a thing is reported to the ISP, and the data is encrypted (several torrent programs have this feature), how can the ISP know what it’s looking at?

c) How do they prove that the downloading/uploading IP address is not a proxy? In theory, there could be several bounce points, with machines in countries not bound by the same laws, and/or countries they have no jurisdiction in.

d) What the hell stops me from going on a site like youtube, finding a music video of the song I want and using Downloadhelper with Firefox to download the video file, then using a piece of software to extract the audio?

Just a few thoughts for the music industry and ISP’s to consider.

Posted by Sabranan | Report as abusive

File Sharing is fine. It’s like lending a friend one of your DVD’s or CDs. Along as no money changes hands. Lets face, if they are able to stop file sharing and prosecute file-sharers, putting an end to it. Will the price of DVDs, CDs and software go down? I seriously doubt it! Rip-off Britain.

Posted by Paddy | Report as abusive

I guess file sharing is a form of theft. But, then, so are the prices charged for “legal” downloading of music. If the download of a single song, for example, were at a reasonable price (perhaps 10 – 25 pence?)many/most people might be encouraged not to download illegally. It’s greed on the part of the media companies which encourages any illegality.

Posted by Wilf | Report as abusive

This is not about copyright laws – it’s just another way for powerful companies to rip off the public – probably trying to make up for a shortfall in sales due to the credit crunch.

Bunch of thieves!

Posted by Ray | Report as abusive

If the media companies charged a reasonable price for single downloads (say, 10-20 pence) then people would probably not feel pushed into downloading illegally.

The prices they charge are as much theft as is illegal downloading.

What the industry doesn’t seem to understand is a lot of the stuff these people download they were never going to buy it in the first place so they have no right to cry to the government that they lost all these millions to people sharing files. When really only a very small fraction of those same people would have spent the money if they were not able to get the stuff online. What these companies need to do is go after the real pirates that are selling CDs and DVDs on the streets and making a profit from it. Those are the real people taking their money from them since they are selling pirated stuff to people welling to spend their money.

Secondly all they are doing is forcing file sharing more underground and they’ll never be able to stop it. The only real option for them is to change the business models so that file sharing works to their advantage. Taking thousands of people to court is not going to stop the millions that are doing it. Plus why should our tax dollars be spent on them tying up our legal system so that they are can get a few thousand from someone when it cost the people that do pay for stuff by far more to pay for the courts to deal with all this. I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on protecting a business model that isn’t needed anymore. Now days artist can sell directly to their fans and don’t need these fat money grubbing middle men that take most of the artist money in the first place. They are like a leeches. And what do we do with leeches we kill them. If artist charged the same amount they get from these leeches for their own music then I’m sure everyone would be welling to pay. heh We’ll even give them twice as much as the leeches do. 1$ an album instead of the 50 cents they get from these money grubbing leeches. It is a win win situation. In this modern age we don’t need these middle men anymore and they should all find new jobs and stop crying that the good times of leeching off the artist is over.

Posted by Mason | Report as abusive

File sharing is not morally wrong. The people that tell you it’s wrong are the people that want you to pay an exorbitant price for a product that they put out in a format that is tailor made for electronic sharing. Let’s say I’m a street performer who relies on the generosity of passers by for the jingle in my pockets. Do I have a right to bitch and moan about everyone that passed me by without throwing a coin into my hat because they spend the rest of the day humming the tune I wrote and played out in the open for all to hear? How many people heard them humming it? I didn’t say they could reproduce my tune without my permission and share it. It’s just a crappy low quality bootleg that harms my professional image as well! They OWE me! I want a law that says they owe me! Now that’s just as stupid as the recording/motion picture/game producing nazis that put their wares out there in a format they know can and will be copied and then crying about it.

Posted by Sevannah | Report as abusive

For those interested in the great debate regarding the industry vs file sharing majority. A very well thought out and sharply delivered arguement in favour of a ‘new model’ for the entertainment industry can be found here:

http://www.demonbaby.com/blog/2007/10/wh en-pigs-fly-death-of-oink-birth-of.html

Persuasive points?

Posted by Rod Sandcones | Report as abusive

While it is obviously wrong, the ability for people to get caught will diminish when people start using tools like http://www.torrentfreedom.com or http://www.trueonlinesecurity.com to mask both IPs and the content of the data stream.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

I read an article that several artists are sueing the RIAA because they did not get their share of the money the RIAA received in a settlement over some of the artists material that was downloaded.The RIAA is only interested in getting money for themselves not for the recording artists that made the music

I download quite a lot of music, mostly dance music, and reggae. The stuff I enjoy the most, I will seek out to buy on vinyl. If they succeed in stopping me downloading, the result will be I listen to less new music, buy less vinyl, and play less new music when I play out. The music industry need to buck up their ideas. No longer are consumers happy to buy a CD for over £10, not unless there is more than just music. For example, I bought all three of Lemon Jelly’s albums on CD the day of release. I could’ve just downloaded it. Why didn’t I? Because the CD was beautifully presented, with some stunning artwork.

Another point… If we can no longer download music for free, guess where I’ll get most of my music from? That’s right… eBay.

It’s funny that the record companies are not threatening eBay with legal action. It might be because they, like us, are doing nothing wrong.

Posted by matt | Report as abusive

The last Game I bought was Master of Orion III, it was junk in my opinion!! Could I get my money back? NO. When Music, Video, and Game producers start offering a Money back Gaurantee they can implement, control, and enforce then I’ll be more interested buying. For now I have what I had when I last bought some form of entertainment 4+ years ago.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

File sharing is not stealing. If I take a CD from a store, the store cannot sell it to anyone else.

If I copy a CD, I have not deprived anyone of their property, or restricted them from selling it.

Give us a way to legally download unlimited content. If I can legally receive and record unlimited programming from 100 cable channels, there should be a similar system for music and software.

Just because a movie or recording studio feels that their disc is worth $20, does not mean that I or the “free market” agree.

Taking your customers to court is not a viable business model. It annoys the court and reduces sales.

And, for what it is worth – their products suck. I’ve been to one movie this year. I have not bought a CD or paid for iTunes music in YEARS – because there is nothing there to interest me.

Where do I send the check for listening to the radio or watching the t.v. or perusing the book store. This whole argument is ridiculous! Every file I have ever downloaded has only sent me on a quest to purchase said copywrited file. Message ” stop your himey greedy actions against said perpatrators and produce more of what makes you rich”

Ask “Steam”(Valve) how many of the half life series of games I own which I have purchased for myself, my son, my daughters and several relatives and friends as well as promoted and spread among friends! (All of them)

Hell maybe Steam should be sending me a commission cheque considering the sales that were generated by one loaned file called Half-Life.

The whole point of the matter is these companies should consider file sharing as free adverts for their products which would probably sell less without p2p. As for music files, there is no exchange of money between p2ps thus no copywrite infringement, as when a radio station broadcasts that same music for you to listen to for no charge. The copywrite fees are paid by the advertisers on the radio station, to the record labels directly because they are using the music to benefit financially, show me the same for a p2p user.

Any court will give anyone a chance to state their case, and are bound by law to do so for both sides. Lets hope sanity prevails in the court room.

Oh by the way, all of the music I have downloaded, I have bought in past or presently have, hope you can prove that wrong Sony,MCA,Polydor etc….

Posted by Brent | Report as abusive

File sharing is not morally wrong.

It’s the obscene amount of money paid to industry stars and executives.

If they cut their salaries and behaved in a reasonable manner then i would not mind paying. but when they are spending millions on drugs and booze and get in the papers all smug about it then it pees me off no end. They need to get into the real world.

Posted by Graham | Report as abusive

Did the woman make any money whatsoever from sharing this file? Was she selling pirate copies of this software?

Or did she download and enjoy a pinball game and rather than ‘leach’ it wanted to share it with others?

This fine is ridiculous. What the woman did was not wrong and those real criminals who make money from fake dvd’s (with godawful quality) are laughing all the way to the bank.

How much would someone be fined for selling illegal copies of this software at a market? Not a lot and yet they would actually be trying to make some money!

Why not give the woman ten years in jail for this ‘heinous crime’? It’s almost as ridiculous as trying to get a single mum to pay up 16K for lending a few friends a digital copy of a pinball game.

If it had been really good people would have bought it!

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

A lot of people seem to be under the misconception that file sharing constitutes lending a file to someone, however all digital piracy over the internet involves downloading your own copy of a file. Sharing would imply you give it to someone for a while then they give it back and can’t use it in the meantime, i.e. you share the file over time. So file sharing is in fact not file sharing at all, it’s file copying, which we would all agree is illegal.

Someone stated it’s like lending someone your car… how? It’s more like making a perfect copy of your car in about 10 minutes without doing any work, and then GIVING that one to your friend, and then doing the same and GIVING them to thousands of other people… I think the car manufacturer would rightfully so have something to say about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have indulged in file sharing, but if I like a song or album or anything that i’ve ‘file shared’ then I tend to go out and buy it.

Think of it another way, imagine the situation where file sharing is declared legal and everybody in the world turns to it, afterall what would be the point in paying for something you can get for free if it is declared legal. Who would then produce the content, which would also have to be produced for free in order to not make a loss…

We live in a capitalist world, unless that fundamentally changes, then manufacturers of goods will defend their right to make a profit, as will the courts. Anyone who supports the idea of file sharing that is essentially file copying is also supporting the idea that they should work for free… get to it chop chop!

Posted by Jimbob | Report as abusive

For the generous: share what is yours. It’s that easy. The songs, films, and games you offer to thousands of people you do not know online are not yours. You paid for a copy (if you paid) for your personal use. That does not entitle you to become a distributor (beyond that one copy,depending on your license). But this is not a legal debate, judging from prior comments.

Can you find justifications for file sharing? Sure you can. Particularly if you are a primary beneficiary. It’s human nature.

File sharing is not morally wrong. Sharing files which you have no right to share is morally wrong.

The real problem is that people assume they can do online what they would never do offline. People who have no problem leaving their harddrive open to total strangers so they can “share” content professionally produced by others would not dream of starting a CD or DVD replication operation in their garage to give those away to strangers. But the bandwidth they are consuming is diminishing that part of the commons and the industries they are putting in danger are potentially at the core of the networked economy. Once the commoditized pipes and boxes that connect everyone are there, what will make that economy run? Content and the interactions on those pipes.

Wake up people, this is about more than downloading David vs “multinational corporation” Goliath.

It’s about whether your own rights and freedoms are protected online. Today, they are not – try your ISP when you have a problem with online content or behaviour.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

I am laughing because Asians don’t give a damn about youtube pirates (and) upload their anime. It’s only Americans and the English.

Guess what? Anime is thriving.

Just Google “japanese Anime studio embraces Youtube pirates”.

Posted by Laughing | Report as abusive

What above sue them for ilegal entering with there advertisement which is getting to my PC! And for spam support!

It’s time take them to court to pay us!

If you don’t like a store’s product pricing, will you just shoplift and say the stuff’s too expensive anyway? Or would you not boycott the store completely and go somewhere else? Do you not have to pay for all clothes you buy even if you don’t wear them? How about photocopying a book so you don’t have to buy it? Downloading or sharing licensed software, music or movies for free is just breaking the license rules and that’s just like shoplifting. If you want to complain about licensing rules, why don’t you just boycott the songs and movies that have them? What right do you have to get the songs if you don’t follow the rules of who produced the songs? That means the authors, singers, producers, etc. Moral wrong? No. Illegal? Definitely. Stop rationalizing. Mob rule doesn’t make it cool or okay.

Nice if someone would start a legal defence fund to help this woman (and others) fight the RIAA – I know I’d paypal over a few bucks – it’d feel good!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Is it moral that a singer can make more money than the best scientist in the world?

Is it moral to ask thousands of dollars for a concert when what you are doing is just performing a show that could have not been possible if people did not know or like “your” music?

I agree with all those who say technology for sharing has set a new scenario that music related companies haven’t found an honest way to deal with. I am going to get copyrights for every word so when someone makes a song has to pay me rights.

It is not moral to persecute people as thefts when they have already paid their internet connection, their equipment, and everything related to get to the point to be able to download a song.

It is time for those parasites living from image marketing to get to work and make really good music they have the face to claim for.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with online file sharing. Most of the music I like are from the 70s or 80s which I bought in cassettes. After all these years they cannot be played anymore. Downloading from Internet allows me to have them again on CD. To me, I paid for the copyright already. There is no way to get me pay for it again.

Posted by David Johnson | Report as abusive

How can it be wrong!

If you buy a meal in the shops then it is your meal to do with as you please.

You won’t see the food manufacturer sue you for sharing a tin of say beans, would you? Once it has been sold then it should be up to the buyer to do with it as they see fit.

They are saying it harms the sellers — not true, in fact it helps the sellers for if it is any good then the receiver will go out and buy the next one to add to their collection.

If this is not so ain’t places like the prison department here in the UK breaking the law for they show films to the prisoners and the prisoners don’t pay and if you read the small print of all films it states quite clearly that it is not to be used for schools, prisons, or other public uses… yet I don’t see prisons being fined or made to pay compensation.

Posted by John C | Report as abusive

record companies claim that file sharing decreases their ability to invest in new music? maybe they should stop giving the managers such massive pay checks,

also since when has any major record company ever been at the forefront of any musical breakthrough?

jazz? hippy? punk? hip hop? metal? all of which were created outside of record labels influence,

this is merely an attempt to control the internet, if they take away our right to share infomation on the internet, when will this spread to other media?

behold a new type of fascism, cyber-fascism where the only army to enforce it is one of geeks, lawyers and the rich

Posted by anon a. mous | Report as abusive

file sharing is a direct response to a complete failure on the part of providers of entertainment to adapt to rapidly evolving technology. i do not think file sharing is morally wrong. i will focus just on the music industry here. people still go see live music, which more often than not compensates the entertainer more than royalties received from purchased cds. the internet has also opened up many smaller bands to larger audiences, eventually putting more money in their pockets (if their product ie music, live show, is any good). the only people it hurts is record companies, and mainly larger record companies. now what is happening, in response to this trend, they form a union and go after potential cutstomers with outrageous lawsuits. they are going after the wrong people. if the record companies want to go after the real players in their current downward spiral, they have three main groups or people to subpoena. 1. the research group of, Leon van de Kerkhof, Leonardo Chiariglione, Yves-François Dehery, Karlheinz Brandenburg, James D. Johnston who built upon other people’s research and developed the mp3. the record companies neglected to see any future in securing this technology to protect their product and let the cd become obsolete as computers became more and more a part of everyday life. 2. is Justin Frankel who developed winamp in 1997, allowing computer users the first venue to organize and play music coded in this new format. 3. (people are going to laugh when i say this) steve jobs. steve jobs brought the final blow to the record industry as we used to know it with the release of the ipod, the first fully functional portable mp3 player. i have a 60 gig ipod, and to fully fill it at apple’s prescribed format of 128kbs with 20,000 songs the cheapest legal way (through the itunes store at 99 cents per song) it would cost me $19,800, plus the $399 i paid for the ipod, a grand total of $20,199. does anyone actually believe that anyone is filling their ipods legally at these exorbitant costs? now ipods are 80 and 160 gigs, even more costly to fill. steve jobs was brilliant because he saw an opening that the record executives did not; how to make money off of all of the people who are stealing music. also, he finalized the shift from cd to mp3 and will make money selling ipods regardless of whether or not people are legally acquiring the data they put on their ipods. the real brilliance of steve jobs is the itunes store, which prevents him from any attacks from the recording industry because he provides a legitimate way (though it makes a small amount of money for apple) to put music on the ipod.

so there you have it. file sharing is not morally wrong. stealing music may be, but people share other things too, things they have rights too. to black list a technology because some people use it for questionable ends is criminal. companies should try and adapt to their customers habits instead of trying to punish them. at least try and punish the people who have really hurt them. file sharing is not going anywhere, and maybe they will realize that when they are bankrupt after they tried to continue to sell something that was obsolete.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

I just want to make one quick remark: The businesses that succeed and survive across ages are simply businesses who have managed to reinvent themselves and stay at the top of their game. Record companies have for much too long done nothing but create fictional artists which do not even record their own music and collect staggering amount of money for being the middle man between the production and the artist. The world has changed and record companies should have followed. This is the only industry in which we can see major companies crying because they have not managed to adapt to a changing environment. With this attitude and if it was not for the ambiguous legal situation of file sharing these companies would have died long ago. I’d like to underline the fact to close my comments that most of the noise made in this debate comes from these companies rather than the artists.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if you had to take a pay cut, work for free or generally itemize your pay in respect to your hours worked? How would you react? Yet, this is a reality for thousands of professionals worldwide who are victims of illegal downloads. The truth of the matter is most small businesses are struggling to survive to b/c of individuals who think “sharing” is OK. It doesn’t matter b/c they are not stealing anything from an individual it is a big corporation – WRONG.

I am a small business owner who is struggling b/c individuals are “sharing” my work with others. I have had a huge dip in sales and revenues due to copyright infringement.

I find it appalling that one would justify this type of action as “fee advertising”. Would you work for free? How am I supposed to support my family, my employees and their families? Who is going to suffer b/c of your theft? We are! So let’s call a spade a spade and jump into reality. When you download copyrighted information you are stealing not only from the company but from the workers and their families. I hope you are ready to support these families when they need to file for aid from the government b/c they were layed off from their job.

Oh right, I forgot it’s their fault.

I am a DJ in South Africa. Origional CD’s are expensive expensive expensive. And there are only realy full albums available.

I charge about R150 an hour for a club…a cd costs R120 to R200. And I only want one or two songs on the frikkin CD. I can download single tracks off of the internet for a much lower costs, but have to put in credit card details…the bank wont give me a credit card because I am a DJ.

I can easily download a popular track off the internet for free.

Secondly, South Africa takes forever to get the latest tracks. I know what songs I need, but cant find them in the stores. Therefore I do not have the tracks that some people want me to play (as I play in an extremely commercial club). Therefore I am considered a bad DJ. I am promoting my brand as a DJ and need to keep the crowds happy.

Yes the recording labels need to make money, but they are only profit driven. I doubt any of them remember what the reason was that they got into the music industry. Do they hear a song and go WOW that is a good song, or just hear a cash register?

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

I think file sharing is wrong. If you think its ok to download music then shouldnt it also be ok to download books, games, and everything. So basically everything should be free? Thats a nice thought but its not how the world works.

At the same time they charge very unfair prices for things. I remember reading somewhere that less than 10 cents of a itunes song goes to the artists and the rest goes to apple/record company.

I think 50 cents would be a fair price for a song if an artists gets their share(not that a lot of them actually need it).

Most people can’t even comprehend how much money some artists and movie stars have. Maybe thats why our economy is so bad because we have rich people sitting on all the dough. They spend more on a piece of furniture than a average home costs.

I think the honest way to do things is to just rent or borrow whatever you can. With something like netflix you can rent whatever you want and not worry about downloading movies. Try to find used cd’s or be more selective about what you buy.

I think piracy for the most part will end. They have unlimited money and will sue and find ways to control the internet.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

I beleive that these media companys are putting out feeler files to catch torrent users,that said,there are so many files avalable on these sites its impossable for the unknowing user to tell which files are copywrited and which are not,there are program hackers who crack these files and its them that make these illigal files avalable,thay are like drug dealers, most work for these media companys,some are clever board rich young kids that know no better,so why dont they go after those not joe public,yes it`s a new world and a new drug,

Posted by cadeeto | Report as abusive

Im realy interested in seeing the case files though as i know there is much much more to it

Posted by cadeeto | Report as abusive

File sharing is morally wrong depending on what generation someone might be speaking too! In a time of chaos from the globally economy to the music industry that is becoming over saturated on a daily basis. We all live in a time that easy means better and better may mean free for some. Music use to cost the average consumer $10-15 for an Album that they would be able to enjoy in the comfort of their own home. Most listeners who couldn’t afford an album back in the 80’s would just record their favorite song off of the radio station with the radio deejay’s commentary talking over the beginning of their favorite song! Most people liked that they could listen to the song on their walkman cassette player or in their car on their way to school or work. But what most didn’t like is the deejay talking over the beginning and end of the song that they enjoyed. In this case they would just wait for the song’s single to be release and go to the music store and by the album of single released. And in today’s times it is not much different except that technology is way more advanced and now listeners and potential consumers are able to obtain higher quality music threw CD’s and mp3’s digital files without the radio deejay broadcasting the songs title by talking over the beginning and end of the song. This is where the problem beginnings as for ‘Free music’ because listeners can now get songs for free without any interruption which may lead them to not buying the song from stores because they’ve gotten the highest recorded one for free online. And with this option they are able to also share the media mp3 song file with their friends and family at no cost! Most people understand that major record labels will loss but feel that their artists wouldn’t loss because they make their monies off of tours shows, and other marketable commodities with in the music industry that they can capitalize on. But at the same time if the major labels loss money they will not sign new talent because they need to show a profit margin gain from some sort. It is a catch 23 scenario. And this is because if major labels fall out of the picture that is going to help on the financial end of marketing & promoting the new and up and coming artists out there? This causes an industry of saturation of artists who only get recognized on a low level because of the financial gain from music that it gives in this time. The industry will still consist of artists but maybe not at the same caliber of what it use to be because of the lack of money involved in the industry.

You guys helped some of my friends.

Posted by Adam!!! | Report as abusive

Though I have not had the time to read all the comments here, I think I get the jist of what many of you are saying…same say that since we don’t downlaod books, video games, dvdes, or computer softwear for free, why should that be okay for music? Others say that downlaoding is like lending a friend a book or a video game and that’s not illegal is it? The truth is though that musicians need to put food on their plates. And being a musician myself, it scares me to think about the way the industry is headed. In the comment from Ransack Productions, they stated “Most people understand that major record labels will loss but feel that their artists wouldn’t loss because they make their monies off of tours shows, and other marketable commodities with in the music industry that they can capitalize on” but hoenstly, tours and merch wont pay the bills. Unless you are completly DIY (which is hard to get noticed and gain a fan base) you are going to need a record company to help you out with some cash flow. But what most people don’t know is that they expect you to repay that money back, which comes from touring and soemtimes merch. When people attain music for free they are taking valuble money away from those bands that do infact need to repay those record companies. I think in the end this will cause good music to suffer. All those young kids that want to play in bands will soon realize there is no money in the industry (untill we find a way around this) which in turn will cause many potential musicians to turn other ways to support themselves.

So, I don’t know if I would saying the act of downlaoding is morally wrong (like theft or what not) but I think technology has come back to bite us in the ass. We did this to ourselves. And I think it sucks. Untill we find a new way around this mess…the future of the music industry is looking pretty gloomy.

Posted by Kerry H | Report as abusive