Downloading music and TV programs 'illegally' is very similar to the illegal drug scene of the 60s. Everybody does it but nobody admits it. Yes, I have had a brief flirtation with downloading music and video, but as I have stated many times before on this blog, I no longer download 'illegal' music or video. In fact I don't even bother to buy CDs or DVDs except directly from artists at their gigs. After reading about how badly artists are treated and buying over 600 CDs in my life, I really don't miss it!
Life is too short to worry about the fat-cat and self serving MPAA and RIAA. And there is plenty of other stuff to do (like raise my beautiful son, eat great food and take advantage of legal downloads)!
So is this bad? Am I hurting the artists by "stealing" their music? I was talking to Jenny Conlee, accordion player for the Decemberists, at their last San Francisco show about this. She said she would much prefer to sell stuff at the gigs, rather than through stores -- though it doesn't scale as well. She told me that if you bought their album at the mall, they might see about $.80. Amazon nets them just over a buck. But at the gigs, where they sell CDs for just $10, the band keeps half. Not to mention the percentage of the door take.