So you want the latest music release, but you've run out of credits on iTunes. It's on all of your friend's iPods, you know they got it illegally off the internet, and now you are tempted to do the same. Before rushing off into the seedy world of internet piracy, there are a few things you may want to know that could keep you from incurring costs that force you to the payday loan office.
There are many arguments out there for and against the ethics of illegal downloading. Some argue that it is blatant thievery, a complete disrespect for the law, and should be punished to the full extent. It is no surprise that most of these sentiments are vocalized by record company executives and musicians. These people generally claim that by downloading music illegally, internet users are stealing musician's hard work and taking away opportunities from up and coming talent. On the other hand, many argue that taking 99 cents from a multi-millionaire can hardly be seen as stealing, and that such arguments fail to understand that the majority of a band's money is made through concerts. Those who take this side tend to cast record executives as greedy capitalists who should be undermined for the greater good. Neither of these sides ever really focuses on the pragmatics of illegal downloading, which can be far more compelling of an argument.
Illegal downloading can save you money in the short term, as you can acquire movies, music etc. freely. However, should you get caught, be aware that the fines for illegal downloading are very high. A student in Boston was recently fined 5,000 for downloading and sharing thirty songs on the internet, and a woman in Minnesota was fined .9 million for illegally downloading 24 songs. We are likely to see more of these staggering fines imposed on illegal downloaders, as lawyers and executives are cracking down on the growing problem of internet piracy. The fees per song range from the relatively minor 0 to the major ,000. This is much more than any payday lender will advance you, so should you find yourself in this situation you may have to look elsewhere for help.
In addition to the legal costs of downloading pirated music and movies, you stand the very real chance of being stuck with computer costs as well. File sharing networks are notorious havens for computer viruses. These can range from the relatively benign to the entirely destructive. Even benign viruses can require a trip to the Geek Squad for those of us who are not experts in the field. A simple virus may be gone with a few clicks of a button, but more sophisticated ones will require you to reformat and reinstall your operating system or, even worse, require you to replace your computer completely. Although the latter situation is rare, it can and does happen. Thus, when confronted with the temptation to download music illegally off the internet, you need decide whether the immediate savings of 99 cents is worth the possibility of having to take out a cash advance to cover the costs of a new computer.
While several arguments abound for the ethics of internet piracy, the practical consequences can be much more compelling of a reason to keep away from such sites. Saving a couple dollars is just not worth the financial and legal trouble you could find yourself in.