Musician Adam Sullivan touched on an issue many in the pro-piracy crowd have an issue with- the term “piracy”.
The term “piracy” in and of itself insinuates something untoward. However, I remember being in high school and making mix tapes for girlfriends. I was sharing music with them. Was that piracy? Technically, yes. But was it bad? I think you have to identify intention when you’re dealing with piracy. Pirates (think Captain Blackbeard or such) robbed with no intention of returning or repaying what they stole. And many people download music with no intention of compensating or supporting the artist. I do think that’s wrong, especially if you have the means with which to support the artist.
That said, I think it’s a lot to ask people to pay $10 for a record they haven’t heard yet (and no, 0:30 clips don’t count). When we buy a car, we get to test drive. We can go into Best Buy and view a variety of entertainment sources on the televisions before deciding which one to purchase. Yet, consumers are asked to take home a record they haven’t experienced, with no possibility for return if they are unsatisfied. It doesn’t seem fair.
Of course, I’m not saying that this justifies piracy. But if one’s intention is to “pirate” a record to preview it, and then purchase it if he or she intends to listen to it – I have less of a problem with that. I have absolutely no problem with people sharing music with friends in an effort to promote an artist. That’s what it’s all about – people hearing the music and discovering a new artist. If piracy – in a well-intentioned form – can help build an artist, is it still piracy?