A good friend of yours is in a band that is struggling to gain recognition and an audience. All the band members are just getting by on their day jobs – the band as such doesn’t make enough money to support any of the members full-time. The band has just produced a new album, and they’re hoping that it will become a major hit. Like most musicians, they offer a free sample track on their website – hoping, of course, that this will lead to sales of the full album at the going price of US$15.00. You are no stranger to illegally downloading music from the internet. But, since you want to support the band, you’ve gone ahead and paid the US$15.00 for your legal copy of the full album.
1. While, in this circumstance, you are willing to pay the US$15.00 required for downloading a legal copy of the album, presume that you also think that under some circumstances it’s OK to download music from the internet illegally. With regard to the later case(s), what are your arguments, evidence, reasons, and/or other grounds for justifying such illegal downloading? (NB: this question assumes that a strong ethical justification both is distinct from, and, indeed, may override, arguments based exclusively on current law.)
2. Presuming that you’ve now marshalled some good arguments, etc., that justify at least some sorts of illegal downloading – what arguments, evidence, reasons, and/or other grounds come into play in the instance of your deciding not to download illegally the full album of your friend’s band?
3. (Optional: Again, you may want to review at least the first two ethical frameworks discussed in chapter 6, consequentialism/utilitarianism and deontology. After doing so, return to the arguments, etc., that you’ve provided above. Can you discern whether your arguments are more consequentialist, perhaps utilitarian, and/or more deontological in some way?)