Married to the Empire

Friday, August 31, 2007

Murky ethics

I now have an iPod, and I'm ready to start putting some music on it. I also have 3 CDs I checked out from the library. I liked one so well that I ordered it from Amazon. But the other 2 CDs aren't interesting enough to own the whole albums, just a few songs.

As Ruf and I were on a walk last night, I was asking him if it's wrong to put those songs I like on my iPod. He said it's only wrong if I don't delete them once I return the albums to the library. He made the point that we didn't buy the albums, so we don't own the songs; therefore, it would be theft to keep them on the iPod after the CDs are returned.

I pointed out that we paid for the CDs with our taxes. Then he said that we pay for video rentals, but I wouldn't dream of making a copy of the video, as that is obviously theft. Point taken.

I also have a book on CD from the library. It's an mp3 CD, and while I have a CD player that is made for playing that type of CD, it was acting up and being difficult. However, the CD plays just fine on my computer. But it's a major pain to haul the computer around the house with me so that I can listen to the book while working on stuff. Ruf said it's fine for me to put that book on my iPod, but again, it has to be deleted when the book goes back. That makes sense to me, especially as a multi-hour book would take up a lot of valuable space on the iPod.

No wonder the music companies were having fits when file sharing and single-song buying came about. It really does leave wide open the door for murky ethics. What constitutes theft, and what is acceptable? It's enough to make my head spin.


AnneK said...

Those are difficult choices, but ethics is important, isn't it? Not just a matter of knowing right and wrong, but actually doing it. Oh, and btw check out my blog...

Cathy VanPatten said...

Food for thought.

I think back to the pre-CD-burner days of "selection tapes" (a la High Fidelity, and I see that enterprise as relatively harmless, ethically speaking. Although probably not ENTIRELY so.

Friends have loaned CDs of theirs to me to upload individual songs to iTunes--and those songs, well, some of them, have made it onto my iPod.

The good thing about iTunes (and other similar sites) is that you can buy individual songs to download at a teeny-weeny price (99 cents for iTunes), so if you run across a song you would love to have on a CD you have borrowed from the library, odds are you will be able to find it for sale for a... song! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)