Torrenting is Stealing

I dread the day my teens move out. I might run out of topics for my blog. I started this morning with a lively discussion on torrenting (pirating) music and movies with my teen. As an author of an e-book I take pirating personally. I'm amazed at the cavalier attitude of teens in general toward this practice.

The most popular argument, and my personal favorite, is that since teens don't have enough money to purchase all the music and movies and e-books they would like to own, that justifies taking free copies from sites that haven stolen them. I love this idea and I kind of hope it holds up in court because I can't afford any of the Christian Louboutin shoes I want. How awesome would it be to just saunter in to one of their stores and take a few pairs since I'm too poor to buy them. I'll post a pic of my new shoes when this idea becomes a legal precedent.

Which leads to the argument that shoes are a physical item where there is cost involved in producing each item. Teens say it's different if it is something that you can make infinite copies of. "But, doesn't your favorite band have a right to make money from their work?" I contend. "Yes, but they make tons of money so they can afford to have some not paid for (notice an avoidance of the word 'stolen'). These teens have no problem playing judge and jury with the unseen finances of musicians and authors they claim to love. It left me wondering exactly how much the band, actor, author is allowed to make before their fans decide that they have enough and the rest should be free. I guess they reference the communist manifesto for a precise number.

I've also been told that those who are stealing wouldn't pay for the stuff anyway, so they should just be ignored. This problem is huge and growing worldwide but that isn't a reason to ignore it. I'm not sure how this will play out as these teens enter the work force and send their lovingly-crafted work into the internet ether. My guess would be that those who work in creative industries will see the value of their work has diminished and along with it their ability to earn a decent living. Having helped themselves to free music, movies, books, photographs, etc. since childhood pirating could become the standard rather than the exception. 

The other thing I can't see is the new business model that will probably spring up to replace the current one. I'm not one to subscribe to gloom and doom predictions. I do believe that an enterprising musician or marketer or some kid who knows how to make a buck will find a way to both pay the piper and allow the listeners to feel like they are accessing it all for free.The never-ending evolution of making the almighty buck has never let me down.

Until then I will continue my campaign. It will take frustration and anger on the part of all who produce electronic intellectual property to bring about change. It will take drawing attention to the problem and not allowing the value of our work to be diminished to nothing. I might not still be writing when a new business model evolves, so until then, I need to make money from my work. I've got a more shoes to buy.

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