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Treasure Digest: When Sharing Is Stealing

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Treasure Digest

When Sharing Is Stealing

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A lot of people don’t realize that when they download music from the Internet, they are breaking a commandment—they are stealing. I used to think downloading music wasn’t stealing because someone must have purchased the music in order to make it available on his or her computer, right? Wrong!

First of all, who knows if the person purchased the CD or stole it, but let’s say a person does buy a music CD and makes it available to share with thousands of others through peer-to-peer programs through the Internet.

However, what does this do to the artists who made that music CD? Don’t just think about the rich musicians (though God doesn’t say it’s OK to steal from the rich, either). Most people trying to make it in the music business don’t make much money, and the current trends of file "sharing" are making it even harder for the new artists and less popular groups. These artists aren’t getting your money if you’re downloading their music from the Internet. Let’s make things clear. It’s not some gray area between good and bad. Downloading music without paying is definitely bad.

Let me try to put this in a different manner: Imagine if you could somehow buy an expensive pair of pants, put it inside a machine and get an exact copy of it. Even better, imagine that same machine will send pairs of the pants to all the people who had been planning to go to the store to buy them. It’s the exact same thing—people will no longer need to go to the store to purchase them when they can get them from you for free! That store may end up laying off workers or going out of business because of you. It’s such a cleverly hidden way of stealing.