Ethics of Stealing/Sharing Music

This is perhaps one of the most grappled with issues of the new age that the Internet introduced. Is sharing music illegal, and to what degree?

A popular notion seems to be that if the person who copies the music would not have bought it anyways, then the theft is fine, because the person who was stolen from does not lose out. But what if, after hearing one song, the thief wants more, because he likes the music? Say that he decides to, instead of purchasing it, just steal the rest, because he could do so with the first song, and because it’s free? I believe that this is an ethical dilemma, because the person who created the music deserves to be compensated for such, whether or not the people who take the music end up buying it. It’s not different than someone who works for a company. They don’t want their effort to go to waste without getting a paycheck/salary of some sort, correct? So then why should someone who spends their time, effort, and money to make music get nothing in return?




5 thoughts on “Ethics of Stealing/Sharing Music

  1. I feel like although it is ethically wrong and illegal to do so, downloading music for free allows people to experience bands and artists without having to spend money on their work right away. And yes, most of the time the music would not have been purchased anyways so it would appear that no harm is done. I think the line that it goes too far is when somebody downloads albums or discographies without paying because they liked what they heard and just don’t feel like spending the money. Musicians make a living doing this and while “sampling” songs gets their name out a bit, going further to take the rest of the music for free instead of supporting good artists could simply lead to many talented musicians abandoning recording for something that could actually provide a paycheck.

    • Yes, if someone is simply sampling a song or two, then this should not be a problem, since you don’t want to buy something that you haven’t tested first. However, a lot of bands release singles/music videos that allow you to preview their music without downloading it. So why not simply take these avenues instead?

  2. I feel that pirating music is unethical and illegal, but I’m willing to bet that most people who pirate had no intention of buying it to begin with so it’s not exactly as if the company lost a sale.

  3. Musicians don’t make a lot of money from song download and c.d sales most of their money comes from the concerts and shows they do. Some musicians also will ask you to get their songs any way you can just so they can get out to the public.

  4. Even if a person only pirates music they wouldn’t purchase it is still illegal. It is the equivalent of stealing a CD from a store.

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