An obligation to guard against digital piracy

My son recently received a $50 fine from Indiana University for copyright infringement.

The university sited him for allowing music to be downloaded into his computer. I soon discovered that software named MP3Rocket, which I purchased several years ago, was the culprit. At the time we purchased it, we do not recall the warnings of piracy they now post.

Under current copyright legislation, downloading music for free is definitely theft under letter of the law.

How much does it cost?

One credible analysis by the Institute for Policy Innovation concludes that global music piracy causes $12.5 billion of economic losses every year, 71,060 U.S. jobs lost, a loss of $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and a loss of $422 million in tax revenues, $291 million in personal income tax and $131 million in lost corporate income and production taxes.

Perhaps President Obama can socialize the music industry and solve our tax problems … I digress!

Sadly, companies like MP3Rocket exist. Here is the sorry disclaimer which allows them to legally provide their services.

“Everything you share with MP3Rocket becomes public and trackable. To check which files you’re sharing, open MP3Rocket and click on “Shared Files” in the upper-left directory. Clicking on the folders (and sub-folders) will show the files you’re sharing. To use MP3Rocket legally, you must have the owner’s permission to share every file in your Library on the Gnutella network.”

Let’s face it, no one is going to seek the owner’s permission, nor is the owner going to offer permission.

Outside of college campuses, which obviously are doing their part, rarely does the average person experience prosecution for illegal downloading?

According to a 2009 survey from Marrakesh Records Ltd., of over 1000 respondents between 15 and 24, 70 percent of those who expressed a view do not feel guilty about downloading music for free from the Internet. Sixty-one percent of the age group do not feel they should have to pay for the music they listen to.

Piracy is never going to end. Although our kids rarely listen, we must continue to teach them that digital theft is indeed theft, in our law and in God’s law.

Most all of us have been guilty of burning the CD of a friend.

As Christians, we need to consider the repercussions.
Christian and Independent artists struggle to survive. It’s more than sales. The only way some artists can get noticed is sales.

Online downloads from sites such as iTunes and CD sales from many large companies are centrally complied. Many artists get recognized by record companies due to downloads and CD sales. As Christians, let’s support out industry and be examples of Christ.

It was difficult to uninstall the software. However, after reading their disclaimer and after the anger, I am glad I did.


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