ergophobe - 8:31 pm on Feb 27, 2013 (gmt 0)
You know, I think the stealing/sharing discussion is fairly unproductive because I don't think either term applies.
Both sharing and stealing imply depriving someone of use of something. If I steal your car, I have it and you don't. If I share my meal with you, the food on my plate doesn't magically double. The word "sharing" is used by advocates because it has a "feel good" air about it. The word "stealing" is used by opponents because it maps to a crime that everyone agrees is a crime.
Properly speaking what is happening is "copying" and before the law it is a violation of intellectual property rights, most commonly copyright (but it could also be a matter of trademark, service mark or patent infringement).
The discussion (not just here) hinges on 1) whether or not you believe there should be intellectual property rights and 2) whether or not you believe they are enforceable.
Personally, as I guess is clear from my previous statements, I believe such rights should exist. There have been incredible abuses lately with both ridiculous patent filings and an extension to copyright foisted by lobbyists for the publishing industry that had nothing whatsoever with rewarding creators of original art. Despite recent abuses, I believe we are artistically poorer in a society where copyright is not enforced.
I also recognize that enforcement is very difficult, but I think there is a cost to society of not enforcing this.
matrix_jan, we're not really talking about prosecuting someone for stealing a $0.99 apple or copying a $0.99 song. Point me to one case where someone was fined and convicted for copying a single song. Most of those convicted have made or allowed to be made thousands of copies of songs. So as a dollar value, we're talking about someone who hijacks the apple truck, not someone who grabs an apple and runs. Depending on the jurisdiction and the goods stolen, felony larceny is any theft over $300 to $950.
I am NOT trying to say that copying is larceny, merely that to dismiss is it as a $0.99 offense is not comparing... apples to apples (ba dum!).