To download music from the Net illegally is theft, depriving songwriters, performers, music publishers and record companies of payment for their work. It is not so iniquitous as tossing a canvas sack over Elton John's head and swatting him with a stick until he sings ''Candle in the Wind'' (or stops singing it, depending on your taste), but it is dishonest, and you should not do it.
Mind you, Cohen wrote this back in 2000 (hence the witty reference to Candle in the Wind), but what he says still applies, don't you think?
|COURTESY: STEPHAN PASTIS|
Cohen also explains, again in an intelligently entertaining manner, why illegal downloading of music is also unethical:
Your temptation is understandable. In a perverse kind of social progress, the Internet makes it easy to steal songs right in your own home, while you're still in your pajamas. You might almost make a case that it is unethical of Time Warner, say, to tantalize honest music lovers beyond human endurance. This is a ticklish line of reasoning, however, perilously close to blaming the victim. That is, even if I sashay around town in a sport coat made of $100 bills, your robbing me is unethical. Unethical, but understandable.
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- THE VEXED ISSUE OF PLAGIARISM
When my daughter and her fellow college students handed in term papers, their professor had them submit their work to Turnitin.com, a Web site that detects plagiarism, something he had never done before. This has a whiff of entrapment. Shouldn’t the prof have announced in advance that this would be required, giving the class a chance to clean up its work?