1999 – Your friend introduces you to a software where millions of songs are accessible and can be downloaded/shared. At the time, you’re the only kid in the friend group who has a CD burner to make music CDs. He sends some songs over to you so you can make him a CD to listen to. Over time, your friends ask you to make them music CDs so everyone has their own soundtracks.
Now it’s early 2000, and some record label(s) are upset because people found this new software to share music. There’s a big controversy, and ultimately, the software dies out. Just then, multiple software clones appear where more than just music can be shared, and now it’s an endless game of cat and mouse.
Those of you who are old enough know the software I’m referring to called Napster. What started as a college program between friends ended up as a pioneer for iTunes, dlc packs for console video games, and shareware.
Fast forward to today, where there’s countless sites for music, movies, TV shows, and even video games. I’ll give the short version since this topic can go on forever between what’s right and what’s legal.
Preservation is the biggest debate currently involving downloading entertainment. What this means – the customer(s) want to keep what’s purchased in pristine condition while having a plan b to obtain what’s purchased. Some (like myself) want to access certain entertainment not available in certain locations or that have been lost due to unfortunate circumstances.
There’s the ones who want to demo something before buying. Videos and let’s play can only do so much justice. People want something they can actually put some time into before making any final decisions. Some go as far as to verify certain features/settings so they know what’s available at the time of purchase.
Some want the entertainment to verify their current setup (mainly PC) can handle their purchase before spending money. Some would argue reading system requirements, yet even those can be inaccurate.
Music is something that used to be for entertainment and for all listeners. Now music is more of a business where certain sales mean more music.
Video games, while debated as an art form, are the current go-to when talking about outside means of access. At the end of the day, fans will support their favorite games and/or companies.
Theres countless other reasons and scenarios where legit downloading something is more than just stealing and bypassing paying for something like a lot of these companies scream about.
Now, if you’re downloading something and making a profit off someone elses work, that’s illegal. Everyone can agree on this. To download something because availability is limited in your location, or you want to verify something before purchase, personal use, preservation, free modifications, or testing purposes, who are they harming?
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