Get out your old portable radio/tape player, you know, perhaps it was a big and bulky square boombox. You'll notice a small button on it, right around the lineup of REW STOP FF PLAY you should see another button there that says REC. Do you know what that button does? It records of course! Do you know what hundreds of millions of people all over the world did with that button every day of their lives? They recorded songs! From where? From the radio! They never paid a dime for it, and the record companies didn't bat an eye.
That's really all anyone ever had to do to get free music. I'll bet you, and you, and you, and you, and you the little sign picketing protester over there, yeah you too, and all of you are guilty of 'stealing' music at some time in the past 25 years. You're thieves by your own standards. But the fun doesn't stop there.
Remember what we had before DVDs? Well, we had VHS tapes and before that Betamax tapes. Did you know that hundreds of millions of people in their homes every day recorded their favorite tv shows? Yup, they sure did, and I'll bet the same crowd of free-media protesters have a cabinet full of videotapes of movies and tv shows they got off cable tv, without ever paying for them.
But the thing is, who cared about this stuff back then? Nobody cared because everyone did it, it wasn't a big deal, it was cool. The governments of the world could have put a ban on 'record buttons', it could have been totally outlawed, but it wasn't and everyone was doing it for decades. People can still do it in fact, and some probably do.
Through the 80's and 90's I never knew nor heard of a single person getting prosecuted for recording and copying songs from the radio or movies from tv and giving copies to their friends. The reason I believe is because it wasn't until it started costing music record companies major revenues that it became an issue. This wasn't about what was right or moral as defined by American laws, it was all about money.
It's utter hypocrisy. It's like the same people who are all for the war on drugs, are against alchohol and cigarette prohibition. So drugs are bad, but beer and tobacco is fine....hypocrisy.
The way the companies are handling audio and video piracy is by phasing out the formats we are all accustomed to. Eventually the problem will go away on it's own because cassette tapes and video tapes have become obsolete, so no new material is being made for them. With MP3s, DVDs, DVRs and other formats in development, pirating media is becoming darn near impossible for the common people without having special equipment.