This thought had not occurred to me before I read Ken Gallingerâ€™s column answering a question from a reader. The question is basically the same as the title of this blog post. The reader says that he has a collection of tapes (who doesnâ€™t?) and that he does not have the means to convert them to mp3 at the moment. Does this justify him downloading the songs off of the Internet? I assume that when he wrote downloading, he meant peer-to-peer, free, and illegal downloading.
So it is justifiable in a case like this?
According to Gallinger, the question is not of legality but of ethics. He writes:
What follows is a comment on the ethics of what you propose to do â€“ not the legality. Canadian copyright laws are under review and the legality of particular P2P (peer-to-peer) operations depends on whom you talk to. Read Michael Geist’s article at thestar.com/ sciencetech/article/647038.
But, ethically, after much debate with people who know more about this than me, I’m prepared to render a verdict on your case.
So there’s nothing wrong (ethically, not technically) with P2P per se, unless it’s used for a nefarious activity. And you can’t steal what you already own.
It would be less controversial to buy the software, plug the old turntable into your computer and do the digital conversion yourself. But if you can’t, my opinion is that it’s okay to use P2P, so long as you just download songs you already own and don’t pass on the copies to anyone else.
I totally understand his â€œverdict,â€ and I do agree that it would be much less controversial and much less of a hassle to find some means to convert the tapes and LPs. What do you think?