Ethics of Copying Music, Value of Music?

I think the issue I am about to raise might be better left to a professional, but to me the issue either makes me have a passing interest or be ambivalent, but that I am writing about it must mean something.

When is it okay to copy a friend’s CD’s? I would say all the time, but what if you are buying someone a CD and you want to copy it before you give it to them (which would include taking it out of the wrapper, thus taking some of the fun from the CDs recipient)? Is this okay? I think it’s a little bit rude and totally defeats the purpose of buying the disc, and besides you can always just copy it from your friend later, once the gift hormones have worn off for them.

And the gift hormone–I have no idea what the technical term for it is, but I know it does exist–seems to become obsolete when one considers the presence of free downloading. So why buy the disc for your friend at all? More ethical booby traps to get through…

Downloading constitutes a form of personal self gratification, much like masturbation, I suppose, but I think more important than this self gratification is the issue of assigning value to something, art ( as infinitely valued as it is) in the case of music, when it is free for the taking. So what value can one assign to music then? Radiohead recently released their newest CD and instructed their fans to pay what they thought it was worth, much to the chagrin of their record label. I think this is a wonderful idea and places the onus on the art/art lover exchange to create value of the art itself instead of RCA or Sony. Although I think deep down CD’s are mere simulations for what you are actually supposed to get at a live show, so CD’s ought to be looked at as samplers while the shows are what you ought to renumerate the artists for; shows constitute the greatest form of enjoyment the tunes give you.

What do you think?

This entry was posted in Commentary, Essay.

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