Recently i was at my mums house for dinner. Afterward, when we were all quite drunk, the conversation turned to internet piracy. We were talking about music in general when i explained that i would only buy a cd if i really liked it, preferring to download for free. My mums partner, who's very strait-laced (his dad was a policeman), said he was totally against it. He thought it was bad for the industry, unfair to those who pay for their music, and that it being illegal should mean i don't do it.
My defence was that the music industries greed is itself to blame. I remember when lp's and cassettes cost £7 - £8 for an album. As soon as cd's arrived, the price jumped to £12 - £13! What on earth justified this increase, the new technology? If so then surely this initial extra cost should have been absorbed by the industry. Even if it was passed on to the consumer, this massive hike was not justified. I also read recently that the industry wanted to claim royalties on the sale of used cd's by claiming that we don't buy cd's, rather that we rent them!! These sort of actions aren't going to endear them to anyone.
Is it fair to the music buying public? Well, i believe that very many of those who do not partake in p2p, probably would if they knew how user friendly it is, and if they weren't scared of being 'caught'. P2P, to me, isn't any different to when i was a kid, taping cassettes. When i was at school back in the late 80's, as much of my music was copied, either from friends or off the radio, as was bought.
As for it being illegal. Well, it's so easy to be a criminal these days. Perhaps the government, by choosing to criminalise recreational drug users, has made people care less about being law abiding citizens. Almost everyone i know has smoked a joint, particularly in their student days. This does not make them immoral, but it does criminalize them.
I believe myself to a moral, principled person who is kind, tolerant and patient. I don't speed or drive my car while drunk. I am a pacifist who avoids confrontation, chooses not to eat meat, and donates time and money to charity. However, in the eyes of society, am i an immoral and unprincipled criminal? Should i care? How do i justify my actions to myself?