Originally Posted by ApK
Problem there is a very short-sighted, self-serving view of 'risk' that usually accompanies that approach. See the broken window theory.
Human nature IS very short-sighted. Modern American culture (and politics) has a strong tendency toward short-sighted instant gratification.
Regarding the "broken windows theory", notice that I said "as long as you do not encourage others to do likewise"...
How things ARE and how they SHOULD BE are not the same -- we do not live in Utopia, and we never will. Our laws are not "fair" despite the best intentions of the law makers ("unintended consequences" also mentioned in the "broken windows theory"). Although I agree with you in PRINCIPLE, in PRACTICE things are not so simple. The world is a complicated place.
All the laws and all the rules and all the moral philosophy can (in many cases) be replaced by the "golden rule" (treat others as you wish to be treated).
Many artists LIKE it when people copy AND share their work (up to the point that it advertises their existence and increases their popularity, selling MORE copies in the end). It is the PUBLISHERS who try to control our "fair use" freedoms despite the wishes of (some) artists. Of course, there are always exceptions.
Basically, we can debate legality (especially "fair use" which is undergoing great change), ethics, and morality all day, and it will accomplish little but consume time we could use creating and producing new things... In that regard, I have to get back to work. It has been fun, but TTYL....
P.S. I own more than 10,000 real physical paper books. I used to spend thousands of US dollars per year at local book stores. I would buy more, but the kinds of books that interest me have dwindled from a substantial portion of the bookstores to only part of a shelf. Now I spend that money on computers (and Kindles). I also have a fairly large stack of photocopied books (mostly out-of-print or otherwise hard to find), but I buy books when I can. I own thousands of purchased audio CDs (and many hundreds of purchased VHS tapes too). Even so, I still believe in "Fair Use" as it was before the media companies began trashing it and our personal freedom along with it. I neither encourage nor discourage personal copying, but I DO support the freedom to make personal copies (especially "abandonware"), and I encourage people to support their favorite authors and media producers. As it stands, copyright and patent law have been subverted so that it DISCOURAGES new content creation (unintended consequences), so I do not support it in its current ugly incarnation, despite its "paid-for legality".
UPDATE: Scientific study shows "Broken Windows Theory" flawed: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2005Jan29.html