Teenagers and the Ethics of Music File Sharing

Posted on 27. Feb, 2008 by in Legal ethics

gavi eskin asked:

My sixteen year old daughter is a typical teenager – sometimes she’s rude and arrogant, but most times she’s just asleep or grooming herself- If only she worked at math like she works on her hair.  Like mostteens she loves music. I have tried to broaden her appreciation of different genres by submitting her to music she wouldn’t normally listen to. I’ve had some success with Billy holiday and Louis Armstrong and even some classics like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.

As well as musical appreciation I have also tried to give her an appreciation of ethical behaviour, and even though she exhibits none of her own, I think she gets the concept on the whole. Yet when it comesto downloading and file sharing, it all falls apart, after all ‘sharing is caring’ – what can you say to that? I tell her that she wouldn’t steal a CD from a friend. She tells me no but she would borrow one. I don’t reply because I can’t even remember if that’s legal or not. The way she sees it is that she’s simply borrowing music from other peoples files and not making a CD, and again I don’t know if that’s legal or not.

Now I’m trying to tell my kids to behave ethically but I cannot understand the technology and the legal implications. I’m beginning to appreciate the annoying piracy ads on DVD’s – at least you know where you stand. It’s hard to keep up with the changing technology and now it seems to be changing again. Now we have so called legal free download sites.

I know I’m stretching things when I ask my sixteen year old if she’s worried about artists maintaining their artistic integrity if they are being paid not for their work but instead for selling ad space on the internet. A little, she admits, well that’s something I think. But then she continues I don’t really care; I just want to relax and listen to some music. What about the message in the music? But I’ve already lost this one, and I don’t even understand the argument myself.

Not only that but I feel like such a hypocrite having enjoyed a few downloaded movies with the kids – it seemed too innocent at the time. OK I concede, let’s just try stick to the legal download sites, at least to avoid viruses.

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