Go Ahead, Canadians: Download Like Crazy

December 20, 2008

So, as I sit here on a frozen Saturday morning, temporarily (I hope) jobless, having just spent a fortune on Christmas and a birthday and now thinking of ways to pinch pennies, I’m reading a comment on a previous blog post. I love getting comments, and I post them all (except for some of the really, really racist ones that come my way when I complain about skinheads; I won’t spread that hate).

I got one today from someone named Dave, who I don’t think is one of the several dozen Daves I know. He read my piece on P2P downloading and weighed in, pointing out that the issue of legal P2P downloading is not a legal “grey area” in Canada, but that it’s clearly legal (for music, not DVDs).

So this got me googling, and as it turns out, the legality of stealing music from other Internet users was confirmed by the Copyright Board of Canada just a few days ago. Here’s an article on it. It seems the officials who govern creative owners’ rights have sent a message to Canadian pirates: Go ahead and download like crazy.

Well. It looks like I can now have all the old AC/DC songs I want. And if I get the urge to hear Whale’s Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe again, I can. Just like that. And I won’t have to worry about some big scary lawsuit or an angry phone call from Lars Ulrich.

Except I won’t do that.

No matter how it’s phrased, no matter how governments or courts or boards maneuver around the legalities of it, it’s clear on a moral level that getting something for nothing is wrong. I’m not talking about free content; the web is full of that, and that’s fine. I’m talking about something that was created to be sold, but is acquired without paying. That’s theft, and there’s no denying it.

I’m unemployed because people stopped paying for their news; hundreds of us have been laid off this month. Thousands of auto workers are out of work, or about to be, because people are holding off on buying new cars. That’s major media and manufacturing hobbled right there — not good for the economy, or for our society.

P2P has the potential to force the arts creators who power the heart of our society to stop creating, to turn to other things to support themselves. The music goes quiet, and society suffers, because of piracy.

And when you think about it, 99 cents is not very much to ask for a song. Unless it’s Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe. I think I saw that whole CD on for 49 cents once.



  1. Bjork meets The Red Hot Chilli Peppers?

  2. That’s being too kind.

  3. Damn you Canda. You get all the good stuff. Well, actually, you get Stephan Dion and parlimentary crises as well, so I think I’ll wait a little bit longer before I move 😛

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