Saturday, 23 November 2013

Ethical dilemmas: Is copying theft?

It all started so innocently. I was once visiting a parishioner and during the course of our conversation it transpired that we both like Mozart. Next thing I know he had copied one of Mozart's concertos for me to listen to. Rather than say something(!) about the illegality of copied music, I smiled and accepted the cd only to later dispose it! Now here is my question, even though it is illegal (I think?!) to copy music in the UK, is it actually theft in the way that stealing has been historically understood? 

Think of it this way when the parishioner copies a concerto for me, how is that comparable to a thug stealing my car? In that latter case I lose and are dispossessed of something I own - my car. With the copying of music however, the record company still has/'owns' the piece of music - but so do I. So are the authorities being accurate when they describe those who copy music as "pirates"/"thieves"? I'm not convinced and the video below makes the point rather humorously: 

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