The topic of music sharing and its legality came up during our annual cousins trip in Seattle. Here’s an important article on How Not to Get Sued by the RIAA. The most important thing is the last line in the article:
Join EFF and support our efforts to protect file-sharing.
I don’t use P2P music-sharing apps anymore. While I love the idea of being able to access an unending library of music, I don’t like the idea of getting it for free. What? Sure, call me strange, but I like the idea of an artist getting a benefit for entertaining me - something that will encourage them to make even more great music. I tend to buy music at the Apple Music Store or directly from the artists if possible (e.g. Phish). In both cases, the artists get much more of the proceeds than they do through other channels.
Now, I also copy new stuff from friends and family (Thanks Dave and Deepu!), but I don’t feel too guilty about it because they always introduce me to things I would never have heard otherwise and if I hear something I like, I’d usually go buy more of it. RIAA’s current actions (link broken), if they’re doing anything, are making me more reluctant to buy music through normal channels. Why should I support an industry that seems to care neither about the artists nor the customers. Music sharing will help artists and it certainly provides us with more variety than the RIAA and its cohorts are providing. We just need to work on ways to improve the flow of money and music between listeners and artists. The EFF is working on this.