CD Morality Question

Everyone seems to agree that downloading MP3’s of music that you didn’t legally buy is immoral. However, consider this. A person buys a CD, but likes only one song on it, so he makes an MP3 of it, then sells the CD. Do you think this is immoral? Yes, of course, it is illegal, but is it immoral?

Stealing is immoral. Therefore, obviously yes.

Sorry, too simplistic an answer. How is a person stealing when he actually BOUGHT THE CD?!

Doesn’t the US copyright laws allow you to make a single copy of copyrighted materials, for archive purposes? If so, then it wouldn’t be illegal, and according to Bill, therefore wouldn’t be immoral.

Of course, if I’m wrong about the copyright laws…

Making an Mp3 of a track off the CD and then selling the CD could be considered “pirating”… that is, making copies of copyrighted material, and making money off said copyrighted material. However, I don’t think anyone’s going to make much ruckus about a single stinkin’ CD… unless, of course, you’re a politician, but in that case, your micro-piracy won’t come to light for 26 years…

While he owned it it was legal. He sold it. The remaining copy is theft.

What if he bought a CD, then made 50 copies of it and sold them, pocketing the ill-gotten gains.

Theft. Therefore, immoral.

You’re allowed to make backup copies for your own personal use. Once you get rid of the original your copies are no longer being used for backup. It is pretty much the same thing as making a copy and selling it.


what about this? i get a cd that i really dug. for a while. i made a tape of it to listen to in my walkman while jogging. i basically listened to it as much as i could. but after a while, the magic is gone. whatever spark me and that cd had in the first place is gone. we don’t go out to dinner anymore, cd never surprises me with flowers, etc. also, i think the cd might be fooling around with my new modest mouse album. anyway,

i trade the cd to my friend for another one. which i listen to and all and like, and generally the whole cycle starts over. but i still listen to the tape occasionally.

i know that strictly this fits the definition of stealing, especially when looked at in the terms the other posters are considering, but come on. i don’t think that i would really call this immoral (although i do use napster quite a bit) especially not stealing.

I suppose that, if you really wanted to, you can keep going, bringing up obscure, hypothetical situations that reek of “It SORTA is, but not exactly”-ness.

Sure, it’s technically stealing. Will a CD company sue you for a million dollars? Hell no. They have bigger fish to fry.

The basic idea is this… don’t make hundreds of copies and sell 'em.

So, your example: Is it stealing? Technically, yes. Is it immoral? Not as bad as raping and/or plundering, but technically, yes. Will you fry in the burning depths of the hottest Hells for it? Only if God is REALLY bored.

immoral? Come on you guys.
MORAL implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong

The accepted notion is that it’s ok to copy music from CD’s. Everybody does it, no one sees anything wrong with it. Breaking the law is not automaticly immoral. Example being sodomy laws in southen states.

Implies sure. But then slavery was a morally acceptable act for quit a number of years throughout the world. So just because everyone thinks something is ok doesn’t mean it is.


PS: Not that making an illegal copy of a CD is actually that big a deal or anything.

That’s actually an interesting question. Was slavery “immoral” at the time. Now, let’s go back a long time to Greece. I would state that it was not “immoral”. It was considered quite natural to have slaves. “moral” people had slaves. Looking back through our eyes, it is immoral, but at the time?

I think the question has a inductive proof, at least from my philosophical position.

Start at the point where you think theft is wrong, say a five-finger discount of a dozen CD’s (or a truckload). Why is it wrong? Because you have taken what is not rightfully yours; the owner of the store loses the value of those CD’s. Now, reduce the number, say to 6. Is it still wrong? How about one, so that the owner of the store is out $14? Isn’t that still wrong? Now, what if you stole that CD directly from the artist, so he lost $14? Now what about just a 1 bill from him? Now how about .01? Where do you draw the line from being moral to being immoral?

Answer: Not stealing, period. If stealing a penny is OK, then stealing two must be OK, ad infinitum.

Slavery is wrong by the same premise, except use seconds, minutes, years, decades, centuries…

Of course, if you’re a moral relativist, what do you care? You’re just going to make up the rules as you go anyway… :smiley:

It may come to pass that raising animals for slaughter and consumption by humans is deemed immoral. (Not if I have anything to say aboout it! - But just in case I’m eating as much steak and chicken as I can while I can.)

It would be hard to find absolute laws (like gravity) with respect to human morality. Morality is typically a function of society’s beliefs and practices. For example, if the Nazis had won the war (and thus had written the history books), hundreds of years from now no-one would question the morality behind the mass killing that took place as a result of the nazi philosophy.

Morality is all about what society will tollerate and what it will not - IMHO.

Exactly. And it’s more than just your humble opinion. It’s one of the dictionary definitions. Morals are funny things. Of course I hav my own take on them. They are forced upon people by the ruling class of whatever time period. But, you hit the nail on the head here QuickSilver.

Sure it was immoral. Just because most people didn’t think it was immoral doesn’t change the fact that it was. But I’m not willing to look back and simply say that they were all evil bastards for owning slaves.

In another post you said that breaking the law doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong, look at sodomy laws. Social norms dictated for many years that homosexuality was wrong. Does that mean it was wrong until recently because a lot of people thought it was?


PS: I know sodomy laws don’t apply exclusively to homosexuals. I just thought I’d use them as an easy example.

I don’t think copying information is immoral.

For example, let’s say there was a freak accident and every copy of the Bible is destroyed, except for one which is rapidly decaying. Would it be immoral to make a copy of it even though it is copyrighted by someone? I wouldn’t think so. I think the freedom of ideas outways some current law in regards to intellectual property. I like this law, and wouldn’t break it, but there’s nothing immoral about copying things.

*Originally posted by MGibson *


Yes, by our standards it’s immoral. But, by their standards it wasn’t. It was just considered standard practice. And their wasn’t anything wrong with being a slave, some of them became freemen, it was just a bad break in life. Like being poor.


No, it means that the law of what is and isn’t moral constantly changes. You have to look at a historical incident through the eyes of those who were there at the time. That doesn’t mean it was right. Also there is a difference between immoral and wrong.
Another good example. Killing, is it moral or immoral. Well, it depends on the context? You can’t take an isolated action and condemn it without knowing all the facts.

In a clearer response to your question. Slavery was considered right until relatively recently. Doest that mean it was right until recently because a lot of people thought it was?

No problem.

Sure you can. Killing is immoral. Period.

How about killing a dog that is about to take the life of your child? Is that immoral? Killing someone who is about to kill you and your family? Self-defense is immoral?

If that were to happen, the publisher holding the copyrights to that edition would stand to make a Buzzilion dollars overnight. Even I would call this a “lucky” way of generating wealth… but I digress to another thread…
What I’m saying is, the copyright laws would still have to be respected. At least by our society’s standards of moral conduct.