# File-sharing's moral status?

#### Pengwuino

Gold Member
So what do you guys think about file-sharings morality? Do you feel you are sharing with a hypothetical "neighbor" or do you feel your getting something you didnt pay for and it is wrong or do you think its somewhere in between?

And for technicalities, lets say its all copyrighted material and people do not delete their files and its a range of items from games to mp3s to movies.

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#### arildno

Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
It's a very good question; at the outset, I would think that a (somewhat) comparable situation is if we use a Xerox machine and copy a book which we then give to our friend.
Is this legal or not? I don't know..
Is this example truly comparable to the file-sharing example? I'm not too sure..

#### sneez

About the morality part,

How about this scenario. I purchase a licence for some software. (lets disregard for a sec the terms of conditions of the licence). I have a friend who wants to use it and i let him use it on my computer. is that immoral? Lets say he lives far away and i let him account on my PC to use the software of the net. is that immoral? Than if i give him copy of that program so he can work without internet with my licence is it immoral?

I think is against law but not immoral. Is going 75 on 55 highway immoral? Its a law witch community has put forth for one reason or another. Therefore, technically its breaking the law, but i dont see the immoral part of it...

#### Smurf

sneez said:
I think is against law but not immoral. Is going 75 on 55 highway immoral? Its a law witch community has put forth for one reason or another. Therefore, technically its breaking the law, but i dont see the immoral part of it...
Reckless endangerment seems pretty immoral to me. How is putting your own, and many other people's lives in unnecessary risk not immoral? Do you think drinking and driving isn't immoral either?

#### Smurf

Pengwuino said:
So what do you guys think about file-sharings morality? Do you feel you are sharing with a hypothetical "neighbor" or do you feel your getting something you didnt pay for and it is wrong or do you think its somewhere in between?

And for technicalities, lets say its all copyrighted material and people do not delete their files and its a range of items from games to mp3s to movies.
The only difference I see between borowing your friend's CD, or playing a game on you're friend's XboX instead of buying your own, is the scale it takes part on. So if we are to say that file-sharing IS immoral, then can we agree that these simple acts are also immoral?

#### sneez

Driving over the speed limit is not immoral. Driving at all is imoral?

in germany one can go 120 mil/h and not endangering noone according to german law. Like i said its communitie's laws not some universal moral standard.

Absolutelly not immoral...

sneez

#### dextercioby

Homework Helper
Pengwuino said:
So what do you guys think about file-sharings morality?
Morality in itself is not an entirely objective matter and the "file-sharings morality" part sounds conspicuous enough for me.

Pengwuino said:
Do you feel you are sharing with a hypothetical "neighbor" or do you feel your getting something you didnt pay for and it is wrong or do you think its somewhere in between?
I see syntax is not amoung your favorites.Maybe you should get a grammar book through p2p... :tongue2: I don't use such software and i don't know how it feels like.But i'm a really bad person myself and wouldn't share my comp.files with anyone,but i'd surely ask for something.A movie,some music,a book.

Pengwuino said:
And for technicalities, lets say its all copyrighted material and people do not delete their files and its a range of items from games to mp3s to movies.
I would delete the files i'd take,unless i'd be getting something really useful.Or at least move them from the shared folder to the unshared one.

Yeah,i'm an egoistic person.

Daniel.

P.S.As for morality,maybe something really bad,a movie or something,that would propagate from one comp through another.But the act itself is very unselfish.

#### Pengwuino

Gold Member
lol what is this

is there so many shades of gray that you can't even take up a perliminary position?

#### dextercioby

Homework Helper
I adressed the point for most of my post.Some other folks decided to talk about (German) motorways.:tongue2:

Daniel.

#### Jameson

Do people consider file sharing immoral because it is against the law? Most likely yes.

It is easy to associate right and wrong with the laws of one's nation, but I hope that we as humans can think beyond words written by others.

Now, is it wrong, when someone sells a product for x amount of money, to simply download it without paying any money? I would say yes. Do I do it? Of course.

Why? Because I think there is no reason why someone needs to charge 10 to sell a CD. It is simply ridiculous. Two wrongs don't make a right, but I don't have any guilt over downloading music. I usually end up buying music from the artists I really appreciate in the end. #### Smurf sneez said: Driving over the speed limit is not immoral. Driving at all is imoral? in germany one can go 120 mil/h and not endangering noone according to german law. Like i said its communitie's laws not some universal moral standard. Absolutelly not immoral... Law is (usually) based on morals though. This paticular one is based on the idea that at a certain point you're going fast enough that you're creating an unreasonable risk for yourself, your passengers, and other people on the motorway. It's not immoral because it's against the law, it's immoral because your endangering people. Just because there's a law against it doesn't mean it can't be immoral too. Having said that, this has absolutely no relation to file sharing so we should get off the topic. I have absolutely no qualms about file sharing and do it all the time. It doesn't hurt anyone physically or (most of the time) financially so I don't see why I should feel guilty about it. #### Kerrie Staff Emeritus Gold Member I don't believe file sharing is immoral, however, natural consequences with downloading files on my computer have made my whole system crash, therefore I won't download files for that reason alone. #### Smurf You can pretty much look at it three ways (that I can think of): 1. Stealing is wrong no matter what. File sharing is stealing, so file sharing is wrong. -This is entirely a moral outlook (opinion) and so cannot nor does require any argument to back it up. It just is, and some people feel that way so we can't force them to accept file sharing... yet. -- 2. File sharing is taking profits away from hard working artists and recording companies and is actively harming their lifestyle. 3. File sharing is not negatively affecting the financial situation of the people involved in any significant way. This is where all the debating happens because there's a whole bunch of evidence for both sides, as is becoming apparent in the US supreme court case MGM v. Grokster (even though it's a vicarious liability case them lawyers are still bringing up stuff about file sharing). Edit: 4. File sharing is just too dangerous. #### Delta Smurf said: 2. File sharing is taking profits away from hard working artists and recording companies and is actively harming their lifestyle. Then again it can be a good thing. Most highly commercial groups make money through tours, royalties and merchandise. For those little known groups file sharing can be a good thing. Would we of seen David Bernal does his thing in the Golf GTI ad and a few movies if it weren't for the publicity of his videos over email? And what about the music that's too rare to find in your local shop or even on import. The remixes, white labels, world music. The other good thing is that it can introduce new bands. Say you want to find some jungle jazz artists, search for them download a few tracks and before you know it you've got a new group to get into. Finally to finish with, shouldn't all music be free????? #### Smurf And these are the arguments often presented by supporters of #3. #### chroot Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member 1) Copying copyrighted music is definitely illegal. 2) Listening to an artist and not paying for it is unethical by most ethical standards. "Immoral" may be too strong a word. 3) The middlemen in the music business (the labels and the RIAA) are really no longer necessary, and add little value to the industry. At best, their only vestigial purpose is marketing. At worst, they screw the consumer and the artist alike. 4) Music can be and therefore should be sold for much lower prices. Filesharing was developed because the consumer market was trying to realign price with demand. 5) There are many ways to share files that do not make you vulnerable to spyware, viruses, and other malware. - Warren #### motai Smurf said: 1. Stealing is wrong no matter what. File sharing is stealing, so file sharing is wrong. -This is entirely a moral outlook (opinion) and so cannot nor does require any argument to back it up. It just is, and some people feel that way so we can't force them to accept file sharing... yet. Is it really stealing though? The original owner of the media isn't having his/her files taken away from him/her, but rather the files are being copied from one system to another, leaving the original intact. #### chroot Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member motai said: Is it really stealing though? The original owner of the media isn't having his/her files taken away from him/her, but rather the files are being copied from one system to another, leaving the original intact. Give me a break motai, there's more to theft than just tangible goods. - Warren #### Kerrie Staff Emeritus Gold Member chroot said: 1) Copying copyrighted music is definitely illegal. 2) Listening to an artist and not paying for it is unethical by most ethical standards. "Immoral" may be too strong a word. 3) The middlemen in the music business (the labels and the RIAA) are really no longer necessary, and add little value to the industry. At best, their only vestigial purpose is marketing. At worst, they screw the consumer and the artist alike. 4) Music can be and therefore should be sold for much lower prices. Filesharing was developed because the consumer market was trying to realign price with demand. 5) There are many ways to share files that do not make you vulnerable to spyware, viruses, and other malware. - Warren chroot, you bring up some solid and logical points. the whole reason file sharing over the 'net started was probably due to the outrageous prices of CD's the record companies were charging. did anyone jump on the bandwagon for that rebate offered for anyone who bought a CD a couple of years ago? i got my20 out of it. i think if the price of CD's came below 10.00/each (not for double albums and special releases necessarily), it might enable more people to buy the music they love and still support the artists, especially if the middlemen were cut out. #### dextercioby Science Advisor Homework Helper chroot said: Give me a break motai, there's more to theft than just tangible goods. - Warren I'm not an expert,but this is called "intellectual theft",like plagiating a book and redistributing (not necessarily selling) it as if you were the author. Daniel. #### juvenal chroot said: 1) Copying copyrighted music is definitely illegal. 2) Listening to an artist and not paying for it is unethical by most ethical standards. "Immoral" may be too strong a word. 3) The middlemen in the music business (the labels and the RIAA) are really no longer necessary, and add little value to the industry. At best, their only vestigial purpose is marketing. At worst, they screw the consumer and the artist alike. 4) Music can be and therefore should be sold for much lower prices. Filesharing was developed because the consumer market was trying to realign price with demand. 5) There are many ways to share files that do not make you vulnerable to spyware, viruses, and other malware. - Warren I mostly agree with 1, 2, and 5 (there are gray areas like taping a song off the radio), but not really 3 and 4 as much. Even if the sole purpose of the music industry were marketing, the value of that is not to be underestimated, therefore 4 does not necessarily logically follow. Can music be sold for lower prices? Probably. Should it? I'm not sure. You could say the same thing for good number of other consumer products too. As a consumer, if you don't like the price of something, you don't buy it AND you don't steal it. Also - from what I understand, labels often use a portion of their profits generated by their hit artists to help develop their no-names and up-and-comers. Most of the artists they develop or attempt to develop actually fail, and/or don't generate any profit, so the industry does assume risk. #### Pengwuino Gold Member I agree, its a huge mistake to think marketing is not a big deal anymore. Look at the "pop" music culture. These people are practically pre-packaged marvels of marketing. They suck and no ones ever heard of them but record companies make them out to be the greatest thing since sliecd bread. Also, i strongly disagree with #4. Do you REALLY think filesharing is used to re-align prices? I think, with all my experiences with humans, that file-sharing is used entirely to get what you dont pay for. A few years ago id look through all my friends cd's and they were ALL burnt cds. If you have the capabilities to get something for free, people will do it with very little thought as to its morality as long as one or two people are saying there is some sort of moral justification to it (no matter how far off base it may be). #### Pengwuino Gold Member motai said: Is it really stealing though? The original owner of the media isn't having his/her files taken away from him/her, but rather the files are being copied from one system to another, leaving the original intact. Maybe by law it isnt... thats not what i wanted this thread to be about (because laws are laws and they can be interpretted in any way imaginable). However, morality, or ethics, or whatever you want to call it, has a "feeling" to it in my view. Disconnect yourself from the hatred of the music industry (and every industry file sharing represents because file-sharing goes way beyond music) and just think about it. Your getting something that you didnt pay for that other people did pay for. On a side note, the idea that file-sharing should be allowed because cd's are overpriced is a horrible justification. Thats like saying if you feel TV's are too overpriced, that you need to break into your local best buy and steal a 40" LCD TV. #### False Prophet I wouldn't say it's "stealing" because you're not taking something away. A CD costs14.67 USD after taxes at Best Buy. That's more than I make in an hour so I'm not buying it if I have a house to pay for! Linkin Park & their label didn't get their money.

I download the songs on high speed internet that costs \$30.00/month. Linkin Park & their label still didn't get their money.

In EITHER case I wasn't buying the CD. The stealing logic I think is when people think that since you are downloading it then you're not paying for it so it's stealing but you wouldn't have paid for it anyway so the net change in the musician's pocket is 0. Of course everyone is doing this so it makes many net changes of zero instead of positive net changes which ultimatly makes it wrong because the musicians aren't paid as much but it's not "stealing". Maybe we can call it harmfully impacting the music industry instead. Highly paid musicians make less off their songs now thanks to tech. but then more up and coming artists can get known thanks to tech. as was suggested earlier in the thread so it could even be called leveling the playing field. I'm not sure what to call it just not "stealing"!

I kind of think it is wrong to download music for free but so many people do and don't require justification! It's like the one thing, kinda like speeding that everyone does they don't feel the need to justify, myself included! These things are wrong but people know they're not perfect!

#### Smurf

Pengwuino said:
On a side note, the idea that file-sharing should be allowed because cd's are overpriced is a horrible justification. Thats like saying if you feel TV's are too overpriced, that you need to break into your local best buy and steal a 40" LCD TV.

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