I read an article from Rolling Stone recently (found here: http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/15137581/the_record_industrys_decline/2) that makes me even more aware if how our generation seems to have lost a sense of right or wrong in terms of artistic copyright theft.
We all understand it's wrong to steal a sweater from a department store but due to years of conditioning from Napster, the Napster copy-offs, and now Youtube, we don't seem to feel the same way about stealing a song, TV episode or movie.
If we want a song, TV show, or movie we don't ask "how much does it cost? can i find it at a reasonable price?" but rather "how quickly can i download it?", "is it on youtube yet?", "why not?" I'm not sure what it is that has separated us from our moral radar in this particular sector of consumption but I think it's among our most important. I would really hate to see an inability for those in the arts (musicians, scriptwriters, and filmmakers) to be able to commercially succeed when their material is being diluted by the Internet and not being properly acquired. Do we just assume that recording artists are so rich that they won't know the difference? Maybe, it's that we've always felt that concerts is where musicians make most of their money anyway. I think with youtube showing us live concerts, that gets diluted as well. I care more about that than whether everyone who comes out of the Gap with a new sweater has paid for it.
And that's what's being affected. If we truly respect the artists who we're flocking to on you tube and whose songs or TV episodes we're downloading, I would hope that we would respect them enough to support their endeavours commercially. I am not saying I have never downloaded anything ever, but I do make it a point to buy a CD here or there.
I also understand Youtube's potential to promote certain causes and artists although I believe it's shaky ground. If you post an entire episode of a TV show than that's crossing the line, because you take away any incentive for someone to go to itunes and buy the episode for $1.99.
I think there's a lot of emphasis on how the record executives should deal with this crisis, but there's very little emphasis on how we as consumers take responsibility for ourselves, as if that's just a moot point.