Nowadays, everybody has heard of Napster, filesharing, cracks, modchips, the RIAA and whatnot. We are also all aware that some people illegally aquire software and media without remunerating the companies and authors that created those information-based goods (By informaton based, I mean anything which can be copied : books, music, movies, software, pictures, etc.)
Most of us also know that theft, which was pretty much always illegal and recognized as almost universally wrong.
Copyright Infringement, in the other hand is a relatively new crime. A civil offense usually, unlike theft. Variants of it were adopted starting with the 18th century to try and encourage artists and reward creators much like the patent system was invented to encourage and reward inventors. The stated reason behind this was that it would ultimately benefit society more in the long term.
I hope everybody’s with me so far.
My question here is:
If copyright laws became harmful to society at large, should they be reformed or abolished or are they morally necessary no matter what the public consensus (much like anti-segregation laws)?
And, if they are not morally necessary, what would it take for you to be convinced they should be reformed/abolished? Feel free to provide concrete, detailed examples to illustrate your viewpoint.
PS: While I do not wish to stifle debate, try to remain within the scope of those two questions. We already have dozens of generic piracy threads.