Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Victimless Crime

I'm an avid pirate. Although my vinyl collection can stand testament to the fact that I do purchase music, the existence of my digital music collection depends entirely on the kind-hearted people of The Pirate Bay, a notable file sharing site.

Despite industry and government outrage and seemingly growing public scorn, I still feel that piracy is the only logical means by which to acquire and enjoy the artistry of music and that sharing music benefits artists and listeners alike.

I don't deny that musicians deserve revenue. Yet record companies accumulate exorbitant profits under the guise of acting as salesmen of "intellectual property," a concept that effectively warps free artistic discourse. Public libraries indicate that our society values the free exchange of intellectual property in the form of books, but our culture is much slower to condone this same concept of sharing when applied to music.

Pirates resist the arbitrary distinctions that society has drawn between forms of intellectual media. File sharing takes us a step away from the irrational concept of intellectual property and brings us back to the seemingly buried idea that ideas hold value in their absolute accessibility.

File sharing hurts neither music nor musicians. The music industry's emerging belief that ideas are property, however, is a bane to creativity. Music is not a commodity; it is a manifestation of passion. File sharing hurts no one, but it fosters a community of the passionate, who are then able to enjoy the art which musicians seek to share with the world. Sharing music is spreading art and ideas. How can that be wrong?


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