I’ve said this for a long time, but my audience is very small, so I’m glad someone with a bigger audience agrees (video below). I’m not ripping off artists if I download their works for free. I don’t think (m)any are. The way I look at it, I give as much as I can. Does that mean I should be barred from the rest? No. Frankly, if the completely legitimate practices of lending and time-shifting are combined, then what we’re doing is totally fine. There’s no way that all of us listening to our collections all at once can add up to the amount of playtime that accumulates from the CDs that have been bought and are just sitting on shelves somewhere. File sharing isn’t theft; it’s (the high tech version of) lending plus time shifting — both of which have been vindicated in U.S. courts.
Now if only we could get people to realize copyright (and intellectual property rights) are a big deal. It affects starvation, disease, war, etc., and needs to be reasonable.