I have been going back and forth with BloginDm via email over the last 24 hours. The only thing we can agree on is that we can’t agree on this issue. I have enjoyed debating him. it’s an interesting topic. Here is where we are at right now. BloginDm maintains that the producer wouldn’t lose any money if I made a copy, because I already paid for the CD once and no harm is done. If the person hadn’t lost or damaged the CD they’d still own it and the producer wouldn’t see more money for it either way.
I see his point, I get it, but I just don’t agree with it. I maintain that there is a loss when a person copies it if he lost or damaged an old CD. There is a loss that up until recently he had to buy it again. This is the process with any other type of product you purchase and break or lose. I think that by using his logic your devaluing the original disc itself. Which gives way for people who think that no one loses if I copy my friends disc because there was no “PHYSICAL” item being stolen.
If I walk into a store and steal an CD, I stole an CD. If I “copy” an immaterial thing nothing material has been stolen. I don’t agree with that logic, but I do think that thinking the immaterial object doesn’t have the same monetary value of a material item allows someone to come to a conclusion that justifies all forms of copying.
I think that once you lose physical possession of an item, you lose ownership of it. If the original item ceases to exist. If I buy a lamp and my kid knocks it over and it falls and breaks and needs to be thrown out, my ownership of the lamp ceases because the actual item ceases to exist. I’d have to go and buy a new lamp. Either a CD is like any other physical item or it’s not. You can’t mix and match the benefits or drawbacks of the digital aspect of music.
Furthermore, regarding the original case that sparked this debate.
The fact that you can’t tell if a person is honest or not without some sort of physical proof (past receipts maybe, credit card statements) then you have no way of knowing of the person asking you for those mp3’s is telling the truth. It’s nice to be dan lekav zchus, but not at your own expense. If that person is not telling the truth, then they just made you a ganif. (I’m not saying the original poster on the Yahoo board is not telling the truth, I’m saying ANYONE can make this claim.)
That’s why, as I said in the very beginning. The best answer is to go to the source and ask them. The person who created the item, and who owns the copyright.
Incidentally, while I was writing this post I received an email from Sameach stating that they do have an unofficial policy of replacing CD’s if they broke or were stolen. In fact the specific case stated by them was someone losing their CD’s to a car break in. All though they did say it depends on the case, the circumstances and it helps if you can prove it was damaged or stolen.
This further frustrates me because here is another company that has a wishy washy policy with regards to replacing lost, damaged or stolen music. Why is it unofficial? Why is Apple’s policy unofficial? Shouldn’t there be more of a yes or no to this question?
I’ve sent out an e-mail to Aderet asking their policy, as soon as they respond, assuming the do, I will let you know.
UPDATE: BloginDM emails me, and he’s right, I am being a little harsh on Sameach/Apple. I think they should both be complimented, it’s a very consumer friendly approach. My only complaint is that I’d like to see a more defined “official” response.