Reality Righteousness…Cyber Carelessness

Truthfully, I don’t think many people, myself included, really follow online copyright rules and regulations. When I am looking for a picture to add to a presentation or paper, I don’t worry about giving credit to the picture poster when I take one from Google Images. Similarly, I have no problems with illegally taking music and movies off of the internet. When I sat down to write this post and realized I don’t feel any remorse for illegally downloading content off the internet, I also recognized how hypocritical it all was. It’s funny to me that I would never, and have never, shoplifted from a store before and I would scold somebody for stealing something in person, but I have no issue stealing things I haven’t paid for off the internet. For example, I use a website that takes music directly from YouTube, converts it to be compatible to Itunes so I can listen to any type of music found through that site for free. And because almost every song I might want to download is available in some form via YouTube, I very rarely ever have to pay for a single song. This is no doubt stealing music and yet I have no issue with it and still I would never think about stealing a CD from a Best Buy or any other store. That had me wondering why my values are so righteous in reality but virtually criminal. Why would I ever think it is “okay” or fine to steal something off of the web but not in real life. My theory is that because I am sitting behind a computer where nobody can see me, that I don’t have to be as virtuous behind a computer screen as I am in person. I also think that the reason I am this way is because I have always understood the internet as a somewhat free experience… and therefore anything that is found on the web is free as well. If you put something on the internet, I automatically assume that is is there for me to see or use. I never once feel bad about using Wikipedia without having paid for it or watching a movie on YouTube before it is even out in theaters because somebody else put it there for me to see. Even though they a movie was illegally streamed, I assume that because I was not the one who illegally posted it, I’m not doing anything criminal and so I go ahead and take advantage of it being there. However,  I do recognize that this is wrong and it is the reason the music industry has lost so much money over the years from illegal online downloading. To be honest though, I don’t think it will stop me or anybody else from doing it.

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