Some time ago, in my blog entry "Piracy & the Emotional Breakdown," I argued that illegal file sharing was justifiable under certain circumstances. I should add, however, that you do so at your own risk. My father forwarded me this story, in which a single mother is losing thousands of dollars in a legal battle over a crime she never committed. It began when the industry searched her computer without her knowledge and allegedly found pirated mp3s. In defending its methods, the industry is saying that piracy is the same as shoplifting. Actually, that's a logical fallacy. When someone shoplifts, not only does he get the item without paying for it, he also prevents anyone else from paying for that item. File sharing is only like shoplifting if you suppose that someone shoplifting a book will photocopy that book and replace it on the store shelf for someone else to buy. In shoplifting, the seller is out both the sale and the merchandise. In piracy, only the sale is lost. The merchandise remains for others to buy.
What I would like to know is how the industry's spying is not considered breaking and entering or at least illegal search and seizure. Even if piracy were the same as shoplifting, retailers aren't allowed to go door to door, barging into people's homes to search their belongings in an effort see if anyone may have shoplifted. The industry's actions are far more atrocious than that of any multitude of file sharers. Of course, does that surprise anyone, considering the Sony fiasco?
I watch with great pleasure as the music industry dies a slow painful death. Perhaps artists will soon wise up and -- per my father's suggestion -- cut out the middle man, selling directly to the public. Labels are unnecessary, and that is why they face extinction.