NOTE: This journal entry is a repost of a comment in a story.
Imagine I go to the vegetable store, and buy a corn cob. Now instead of just eating that cob, I plant the corn seeds from it and grow my own corn.
I never need to buy corn again, because I can infinitely replicate the supply.
Did I steal ?
What If I sell some of my corn-supply to my neighbours ?
Am I stealing from the farmer now ?
Or what if I give some corn for free to any neighbour who wants it, solving the problem of some of my neighbours who would otherwize have starved. Is that stealing from the farmer ?
The farmer himself had to do that in the beginning right, plant seeds from somewhere else.
The only difference between this and file trading, is that the RIAA actually steals the corn they sell you.
Now how about this scenario, I discover a machine that can infinitely and immediately replicate corn cobs, although they taste a little worse for it.
I have the cure for world hunger in my hands.
I start supplying corn for free to the world.
Would you allow the farmers union, or the restaurant union to stop me ?
How is it different ?
Music is the food of the human soul, we have made it as long as we have existed, surely if we did not need it to survive, evolution/God/Alah/[insert deity/theorem of choice] would have long since gotten rid of so big a timewaster.
Would people stop going to restaurants because they can get all the food they need for free. Nobody goes to the restaurant because he is hungry, the supermarket is a far better solution to the problem. We go to restaurants because it tastes better.
Let's truly complete the metaphor. I have my instant corn for the world from one cob maker, I also have a teleporter on demand so I can instantly send it to everyone who wants it.
Would you honestly say that the farmers union should be allowed to prevent me from operating it.
Sure it would put traditional farming out of work, great for the enviroment btw, so the farmers would have to adapt, a few farmers can produce the master corn cobs I copy, the others need to find new jobs, because the world has changed, at least they won't go hungry.
The restaurant industry won't even be harmed.
The same goes for music.
The artists are farmworkers. The RIAA is the farmer (think feudal system here) and the CD's are restaurant meals.
If you permanently cure world hunger tomorrow, restaurants will still survive.
The difference is that this farmer owns the restaurant (and it's a macdonalds at that), and he wants to legally forbid anyone from eating anywhere else (as well as making it impossible for farmworkers to go work on another farm - in fact he wants to own ALL THE FARMS), be it my instant free food, or buying from the supermarket and cooking for yourself.
That is the true system here, we have the potential to bring art to the entire world for free, while the artists survive through the people who will never stop buying CD's (e.g. the same way we will never stop going to restaurants), and everybody has won.
Do you see now ?