Music theft and the zombie apocalypse

There’s an interesting article making the rounds of the internet arguing that the advent of the “free music revolution” has been a complete disaster for musicians and songwriters. Since this article largely agrees with my position, I find it quite wise.

The article does make a few pertinent points I’d not much considered. One being that a big beneficiary of pirated music (and film and other media) is hardware makers (e.g. computer, cell phone and tablet manufacturers) and connectivity providers. After all, to get access to all this free stuff you need a device to play it on and access to the web (connectivity.) So, in affect, all these idiots saying “information must be free” are really willing pawns of the technology industry.

The article makes another more profound point. 25 years ago, outright theft of music – say, walking into a record store and shoplifting – was frowned upon, even by most anti-authoritarian subcultures. Now this same act in its digital form (e.g. downloading pirated music, burning cds etc) is considered the norm. 25 years ago, we wanted to believe that we were acting morally for “pure” reasons but it seems clear that stealing was simply too hard and dangerous back then. Now that it’s easy, we steal freely. In essence, as the situation changed, our morality (supposedly eternal and inflexible) changed. This is the basic truth in every zombie apocalypse movie. You want to think that your friends, your family, your children etc. won’t sell you out to ensure their own survival (say, by tricking you into walking into a hallway of flesh eating zombies while they can escape) but in fact morality is flexible. When the situation changes so does our aversion to evil.

The truth is, when you’re dealing with a person – be they a friend, a neighbor, a business partner or close lover – you should always be aware that this person will sell you out in a zombie apocalypse. You should be certain that, if the need presents itself, you can instantly eradicate whatever warm feelings you have for that person and screw them before they screw you.

Anyway, the full article is worth reading.

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