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Small-scale ethical question about digital music.

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I realize that filesharing discussions must be thick on the ground, but this is a very close-hemmed question in applied ethics.

Is it ethical to transfer a copy of a piece of music you own to someone else, electronically, in order that he might listen to it for purposes of exposure or explanation? Presuming he deletes it after lending it his attention for the purposes of your discussion, what has transpired is functionally equivalent to playing the piece for a friend; on the empirical level, however, a copy has been made and released from your personal oversight, at which point its integrity may be abused.

Is this scenario ethical anyway?

If this has already been discussed, I apologize for resurrecting a finished issue.

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I realize that filesharing discussions must be thick on the ground, but this is a very close-hemmed question in applied ethics.

Have you tried to search existing threads for on this? There are numerous topics that cover pirating and copying already.

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I started a thread because of the very narrow constraint of the question. It's not unlikely the same issue has been touched on--but I'm curious about the specific application of principle with the particular circumstance, rather than about the broader issues and circumstances.

If the discussion won't stand to be renewed, though, by all means clear my clutter. :P

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I realize that filesharing discussions must be thick on the ground, but this is a very close-hemmed question in applied ethics.

Is it ethical to transfer a copy of a piece of music you own to someone else, electronically, in order that he might listen to it for purposes of exposure or explanation? Presuming he deletes it after lending it his attention for the purposes of your discussion, what has transpired is functionally equivalent to playing the piece for a friend; on the empirical level, however, a copy has been made and released from your personal oversight, at which point its integrity may be abused.

Is this scenario ethical anyway?

If this has already been discussed, I apologize for resurrecting a finished issue.

Actually what you describe is *not* equivalent to playing a piece for a friend. Let's go back to the days of LPs and consider whether it would be the equivalent of playing a record that you own for a friend on your record player to make a copy of the record and send it to him in the mail, provided he destroyed it after one playing: of course it is not equivalent, and it violates the copyright. Now for some reason, that straightforward conclusion gets mucked up when you throw in the word "electronically", as though the *invisibility* of the electric signals opens an ethical loophole. Since that is false, and there is no equivalance, all that remains is your quite correct point that a copy has been made, which (applying ethics) we can easily say is wrong.

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In other words, no. Consider my laziness duly exposed and me, personally, duly chastened.
Good enough; my opinion is that there is actually a serious depth of discussion on the specific topic of theft-of-music which addresses important factual issues such as whether "actual permission" exists for personal multi-copying, whether "giving away for free" is okay, etc. The first is the most prevalent issue discussed because it's the one non-obvious point (i.e. whether permission has actually been given) -- as you will have seen, it is widely understood that non-profit theft is still theft.
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