Downloading != Stealing

Rocky has a good thread going on about iTunes and the music industry and such. Definitely check that out. Anyway, people have weighed in on the “evil” record companies and others have basically called downloading outright stealing. Personally, I don’t think downloading a song is a criminal act. In fact, I think that P2P can only help an artist, not hurt them. I know, a bold stance to take. But I’ll try to explain myself.

First, let me clarify a few things. I LOVE music. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve listened to tons of music in all forms. I’ve even worked in radio and managed a record store. So, I’ve been very close to the system. I also own over 2000 CD’s, 500 cassettes, 200 vinyl, 100 mini-discs, and I’ve purchased music legally online through iTunes. I spend roughly $100 a month on new music, and I even subscribe to XM Satellite Radio. I pay money into this machine called the music industry, and I am very happy to do so.

But, when I was young, I didn’t have the money to buy all the music I wanted. So, I listened to the radio, and when a song came on that I liked, I taped it off of the radio. After a while I made my own mix tapes using the songs I had recorded. I never paid a dime for those songs, but it was all perfectly LEGAL. Then when I got to be a teen and had disposable income, I bought tapes. Once again, I would copy songs off the necessary tapes to a central mix tape so I could listen to only the songs I wanted. This too is perfectly legal. I could even GIVE THAT TAPE TO A FRIEND and it was legal under the law. So now, a friend would have a tape full of songs that they didn’t pay for, but it was legal. This is where I don’t understand the problem today…