January 18, 2004

sharing music

When I was in college and after, my friends and I made mix tapes for each other. We also let our eyes wander through each other's record/tape/CD collections and made tapes to take home and enjoy. I don't think anyone thought of it as illegal even though technically it probably was. It was just what everyone did, and it was no big deal. It meant sampling things you'd never buy yourself. It meant learning something about each other. It was pretty damned cool.

How is it different now, when people can rip CDs right into their computers and then burn CDs filled with MP3s to give each other, when it's possible to go to the library and borrow CDs that you then rip and keep forever, when anyone with an internet hookup can go online, find a P2P network and "borrow" the music from anonymous friends? Yes, it's illegal and the music companies have made it crystal clear they consider it a horror. I'm not arguing the validity of it right now -- many have on each side and many more will -- I'm just contemplating the fact that this kind of music sharing has been part of life as long as I can remember, only now it's on a large scale and it's therefore considered Wrong. The definitions of our actions sometimes shift even if the actions themselves remain the same.

Posted by Tamar at January 18, 2004 10:05 PM

It is indeed a slippery slope. I never copied music I planned on buying anyway. I don't download music I normally would buy. Sometimes I download a song or two, but only because I don't think the whole CD is worth buying, and I would never buy a whole CD for 1 song. It isn't stealing to me if I wasn'going to buy it to begin with-they haven't lost any money.

But, many kids don't buy anymore, they just download. My son's friend has this whole system of getting the cd lineup from amazon, downloading all of the songs. Then he copies the cover art and saves it to the size of a cd cover and prints it for the CD. he never buys CDs anymore, but did a lot before. We both do essentially the same thing-download music. i do consider what he does to be stealing more than what I do.

Posted by: rose at January 19, 2004 02:52 PM