Insights from the UK and beyond
Is file-sharing morally wrong?
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?