Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Music and Movie 'Sharing': A Lesser Crime?

The sharing of music and movie files by means of illegal downloading and copying is as serious a problem in India, as it is anywhere else. Besides, there exists a huge and thriving piracy industry for books, movies and music here in India. Paradoxically, people who consider themselves honest enough to morally condemn theft and respect the productive work of others, see no harm in stealing the work of writers, musicians and film makers. Innumerable college students think that it is their moral right to get things for free, and those with a more evolved sense of ethical propriety do it with a wry smile. Either way, their theft is sustenance for the corrupt piracy industry and the morally wrong sharing network.

In a very clearly written article titled ‘It’s Not Stealing Because I don’t want it to be’ (click on this title to read it), Objectivist writer Rituparna Basu evaluates the psychology of music theft, including how people rationalize it, and explains exactly why it is wrong. There is also an interesting discussion that follows the article, in the comments column. I think, at the end of the day, all it takes is for people to recognize and remember that unscrupulous movie and music sharing is a crime equivalent to theft. Before endorsing any source, they also should not evade the moral responsibility to find out exactly what channels of movie and music sharing are legal, i.e., done with the consent of the original owners of the content, and what are illegal. In fact, this was the kind of realization that helped me, an erstwhile thief, improve my ways.

I’ll use this opportunity to mention that Rituparna Basu was the 2007 winner of The Fountainhead essay contest for high school students. She writes regularly for The Undercurrent. Click here to read more articles written by her.

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