Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Music piracy

I read a piece of interesting news today. A U.S. court refused to overturn a $22,500 judgement against a Chicago woman who was caught downloading music illegally. This looks like a precedent against peer-to-peer file traders and may be the first step for the music industry to go for the consumer performing "illegal" music downloads.

Personally I don't see the logic of this whole argument on music piracy. Ok I know it is illegal to "steal" music, whether it is from your bricks-and-mortar Odyssey music store, or if you are able to hack into a legitimate online music store (like iTunes) and download their music. But hey if I bought a CD and I ripped an MP3 version and I posted the copy on the web for all to download, why is this wrong? How different is this from lending my CD to my friends? I bought it so I damn well can do anything with it. I can decide to use it as a frisbee or a coaster.

And if there are online distributors (like Kazaa and Napster) who provide peer-to-peer transfer, why is this illegal? All these companies do is perform a service no different from a matchmaker---they link someone who is willing to share with someone who wants to listen.

Actually what I am wondering is why can't some lawyer win with this argument? Why do I keep on hearing news that online music distribution sites like eDonkey, Kazaa, Napster are shutting down or redesigning their systems?