I am extremely aware of copyright. I deal with it every day in my business. I have to option and buy materials from creators who own copyrights. I am also create for a living, so I have my own copyright concerns. I work in the film and television industry. I deal with writers, composers, musicians, photographers, actors, web designers, directors, editors, computer effects and animators... and of course, big corporate giants (including the biggest defenders in the world of copyright infringement, music labels and hollywood studios.)
However, I am also a consumer. Not to say that I have ever illegally download anything. But I know friends who do. In fact, I've seen them try to download stuff that I have created, stuff that I worked hard on, stuff that I created to make a living. Were they robbing me? If I do it, am I guilty of it?
To be honest, I am one who is always walking a fine line - defending the studios for their attacks on down loaders, deriding them the next for failing to provide me the content I desire in a manner I desire, at a price that is reasonable.
I fight constantly with shops. I want a new pair of shorts. Its summer. Well, August. But, can I find any? Of course not. It's time for the fall fashions. If I'd wanted shorts, well then, I should have damn well bought them in the spring (when it was -10 and snowing.)
This fight is the same in my media consumption life. I want to read good books, listen to great music and be blown away by amazing flicks. Gosh, I even want to watch hour after hour of 'lost' and 'grey's anatomy.' But I also don't want to be dictated to by the media giants when I can watch it. Or how I consume it. Maybe I wanna listen to Beethoven on my surround sound stereo. Or listen to Fiddy Cent while I am at the gym. Watch episodes of 'Bones' on my cell phone on a transatlantic flight - because I can, my phone can, and I don't want to have to sit down at nine o'clock on a Tuesday and watch it it - and be forced to carry a DVD player, or worse, actually watch the prescribed movie on the plane.
So, what I advocate in respect to copyrght is simple. If you use it, pay for it. Unless it was provided free already (such as on television.) The number one sin, if someone else created it, don't go reselling it and stealing their profit. If you use it for your own consumption, without making profit, its fine in my books.
Of course, there are cases when that just doesn't work. I'm sure there will be more discussion about it. It can't be avoided. As the record labels have refused to acknowledge - times are a changing - FAST - and things are in flux - and we should be flexible to the fact that the rules are a changing and technology doesn't close doors on making money from good original content, but rather opens the door for something new and better for the consumer, and something I am happier to pay for.
And as a creator of the content. It makes me a little more flush if I am clever enough to exploit it.