To a Mother Concerned About File-Sharing.
This post is in response to a post on musicianwages.com asking bloggers to comment on a note from a mom, who is concerned about her kid's attitude that piracy is okay.
I'm not a parent, but if I were and my teenager were downloading pirated music off the Internet, here's what I would say (I think!).
First off, just because something is easy to grab doesn't mean you're not stealing it. In most cases with music, those free files are just like newspapers outside the magazine shop, or candy bars out of view of the clerk. Yup, you can grab 'em no sweat, but you're still stealing them, and stealing is not cool. Nevermind the law, although it certainly matters, but to take something from someone else is just cruel, selfish and hardly "no big deal".
Second, SOME music is available for free download under a new type of copyright called Creative Commons. Artists who choose certain types of CC licenses are saying their music is free to those who promise not to try to profit from it. Look for the CC license and grab all you want. No harm done.
Third, if you think stealing music is okay because music has essentially become an advertisement for the artist's live act -- where the real money is made on tickets and merch -- you're wrong. Stealing is stealing.
Fourth and last (and by now, let's face it, I've lost my teen's interest), think about the artists you like as people, not "artists". Now imagine just taking something from them, something they've created, poured possibly years of their lives into, something they are filled with pride and love for. Would you do it?