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Becoming consistent

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brian0918
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Becoming consistent can be quite a challenge. I have been an ardent supporter of individual rights, but have knowingly permitted myself to act contrary to that which I promote. So, I am working to correct it. Yesterday I deleted my entire collection of downloaded music - a collection that's been growing for over 10 years. I also piled up all my copied CDs/DVDs of music, games, software, movies, TV shows, etc - probably about 500 in total - and plan to dump them at the nearby recycling plant. My next step after that (Mac fans stop reading at this point) is to *gasp* buy a legitimate copy of Windows XP. :P Windows 95 was the last time I remember buying an operating system.

This was difficult for me, but maybe it's a non-issue for others. So, I'd like to know where people have found the most difficulty in being consistent, whether regarding property rights, self-esteem, personal goals, treatment of others, etc.

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I went through the same thing as you in regards to music and pirated DVDs; now I use iTunes and Blockbuster and I have gotten used to it. The difference is that I no longer get the tense feeling of guilt that came with knowingly acting against my principles. However, I am socially anxious and I find conflict difficult to handle, so when I first started buying those things legitimately I found it hard to explain my reasons to people of a cynical, concrete-bound mentality and I'd become flustered, embarrassed and fearful of the idea that other people might find me arrogant or whatever. Whenever I'd back down in conversations over this issue it felt degrading to my integrity but when I overcame it I felt even better than when I gave up the habit of theft itself!

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I had a similar house-cleaning in the last year. For me it was more software/applications; I already owned rights to 99% of the music I had. I felt better and better throughout the process, and felt great when it was complete. The toughest part for me was convincing my wife to remove software I had installed on her computer - she's not an Objectivist (yet).

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Becoming consistent can be quite a challenge. I have been an ardent supporter of individual rights, but have knowingly permitted myself to act contrary to that which I promote. So, I am working to correct it. Yesterday I deleted my entire collection of downloaded music - a collection that's been growing for over 10 years. I also piled up all my copied CDs/DVDs of music, games, software, movies, TV shows, etc - probably about 500 in total - and plan to dump them at the nearby recycling plant. My next step after that (Mac fans stop reading at this point) is to *gasp* buy a legitimate copy of Windows XP. :P Windows 95 was the last time I remember buying an operating system.

This was difficult for me, but maybe it's a non-issue for others. So, I'd like to know where people have found the most difficulty in being consistent, whether regarding property rights, self-esteem, personal goals, treatment of others, etc.

Typing "sudo rm -rf music" into my server terminal was something I knew I had to do to be ethically consistent, and it was also one of the hardest decisions I had to make. That directory was very large, with files that had accumulated over many years. It felt much better than I had anticipated. I bought my favorite things in that collection and started streaming instead from (legal) web radio stations. A few months after I stopped downloading content illegally, I found that I didn't have any desire to do it again. The same might happen in your case.

Edited by AulusAemilius
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I already owned all of my music and I get my movies 1/2 price from Wal Mart or rental places (yes I'm about 1 to 2 years behind).

For me thinking consistently has been harder. Every now and then some corrupted concept or false premise sneaks into my brain.

One by one I'm banishing them

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Can you give some examples?

Thoughts like "There aught to be a law...", the fleeting idea that someones success probably involved some form of corruption or something as simple as cursing the driver that doesn't let you in on the highway...

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I'm thinking about doing something like that as soon as I start earning my own money. That means next summer or the summer after next summer, but I promise to banish everything illegal I have on my PC.

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I listen to a lot of music where artists normally promote their CDs for free P2P sharing online. If they don't, I don't download them. I buy them or don't if the price is stupidly expensive. Like Metallica; I like Metallica and they've made it clear they dont approve of filesharing.

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I'm thinking about doing something like that as soon as I start earning my own money. That means next summer or the summer after next summer, but I promise to banish everything illegal I have on my PC.

Be careful -- you're still acting on the principle that you will only respect the copyright law as soon as you have the money to do so, i.e. when it is convenient for you.

I thought the same thing before purging all illegal music from my computer. But it is wrong. Just write down what you'd like to buy one day of all the illegal music you possess, as would anyone who would wants something but cannot afford it (and who refuses to steal it), and then hit 'delete'.

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Be careful -- you're still acting on the principle that you will only respect the copyright law as soon as you have the money to do so, i.e. when it is convenient for you.

Well said. The people who today ecstatically call for our rights to be eradicated do so on the principle of what's most convenient to them. Never take the convenient route.

Edited by brian0918
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Be careful -- you're still acting on the principle that you will only respect the copyright law as soon as you have the money to do so, i.e. when it is convenient for you.

I thought the same thing before purging all illegal music from my computer. But it is wrong. Just write down what you'd like to buy one day of all the illegal music you possess, as would anyone who would wants something but cannot afford it (and who refuses to steal it), and then hit 'delete'.

Good advice.

I'm sure Rand said something on this but I can't remember where. Something about how dropping your principles only to pick them up again when it suits you undermines those principles.

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  • 1 month later...

I never downloaded music and I would not pay for it either as the quality is sub par. I did get some "free" software and regretted it later, since about 10 years ago I have paid for all software and will not use pirated copes again. People are shocked and act as if I am a little strange, who pays for software?

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But they have no moral right to harm someone who has done them no harm.

So not allowing someone to take the unearned, or to not allow someone to steal from a producer is doing them harm?

WTF?

If this is the prevalent opinion in the world today, stop the planet, because I want off.

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Since you are talking about music downloading and software piracy, I'm curious what you think about this idea.

Following the logic of that link...

If you know that a baker tosses 1-2 dozen unsold donuts in the trash at the end of every business day, it's okay to take 1 dozen from him in the morning without paying, because he wouldn't have made money on them anyway.

My logic...

Regardless of the consequences to the producer, it's wrong to take or use something which is unearned.

Look up the definition of "steal" and "theft". You will see that music/software piracy is most definitely stealing.

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Following the logic of that link...

If you know that a baker tosses 1-2 dozen unsold donuts in the trash at the end of every business day, it's okay to take 1 dozen from him in the morning without paying, because he wouldn't have made money on them anyway.

My logic...

Regardless of the consequences to the producer, it's wrong to take or use something which is unearned.

I understand why it might be bad for oneself to take the unearned. But is it an initiation of force to take the tossed donuts? Would the baker have any right to sue the taker?

Wouldn't a more appropriate analogy be copying the baker's donut recipe?

Look up the definition of "steal" and "theft". You will see that music/software piracy is most definitely stealing.

How so? The definition emphasises that the owner must be deprived of his property.

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I understand why it might be bad for oneself to take the unearned. But is it an initiation of force to take the tossed donuts? Would the baker have any right to sue the taker?
Yes, and Yes.

How so? The definition emphasises that the owner must be deprived of his property.
Until he voluntarily disposes of them, the unsold donuts are the property of the baker. If you take the donuts from the dumpster after he has disposed of them, you are not stealing from the baker - though you may be stealing from the garbage removal company...
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How is rubbish the property of the garbage removal company?

What property is being deprived from the software owner when you make a copy?

You've made his intellectual property into your intellectual property the moment you produce copies for the benefit of you or others. This has been discussed at length in other posts, so you should check those out first.

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What property is being deprived from the software owner when you make a copy?

How are you defining "property"?

For me property would be anything created or anything that can be bought or sold by a person.

You buy a house, that house becomes your property, the house was the builder's property before it was sold to you.

You buy a music CD it becomes your property, all the contents of it are the property of the creator prior to and after it is purchased by you.

Owning the CD is not the same as owning the music itself, unless you specifically buy the legal rights to the music itself, all you are entitled to is your single copy of it. So copying it for your family and friends is also theft (you taking liberty with your ownership of a single copy to rob the artist of his revenue).

Taking the content of the CD without paying for it is theft, just as surely as if you held a gun to the Artists head.

Edited by Zip
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  • 1 month later...
Becoming consistent can be quite a challenge. I have been an ardent supporter of individual rights, but have knowingly permitted myself to act contrary to that which I promote. So, I am working to correct it. Yesterday I deleted my entire collection of downloaded music

Good post Brian. Tonight I am going to delete any dowloaded music that wasn't paid for.

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I'd like to know where people have found the most difficulty in being consistent, whether regarding property rights, self-esteem, personal goals, treatment of others, etc.

In wanting to spend my time freely in pursuit of leisure activities. I have a full family and it often could easily take up 30 hours a day just dealing with things that need to happen around the home. After working and commuting, I come home and help with the kids, chores, etc., mostly until it is time to sleep, and do it all over again the next day. I would really like to sit back and drink a beer or two or three, browse the web, or pursue a hobby. But to really live up to what I hold value in, I need to help the kids, do chores, etc... Lately this has been difficult for me. Probably because I am trying to hold myself to higher standards. I assume that with time it will get easier, as I become more used to functioning at higher levels. But it can often be tough and frustrating.

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