Analyse a Text: Is downloading really stealing? The ethics of digital piracy

The Author is Christian Barry, he is the head of the school of Philosophy at Australian National University. Christian Barry’s articles receives funding from the Australian Research Council due to his project in Ethical Responsibility of Consumers. The article itself provides a sub area with hyperlinks for information about the author, this provides his previous education and work while excluding personal life.

The purpose of Christian Barry’s article is to go into depth about the knowledge of downloading and its ethics. As the point was first raised due to the peak in downloading activity made by the famous Game of Thrones Television show having its first four episodes of season five leaked out to the public. Christian Barry’s point is that the law states it to be illegal while downloaders believe that it is morally okay. “So appeal only to the illegality of downloading doesn’t settle whether it is okay, morally speaking.”

‘The question of the morality of illegal downloading is so difficult because it takes place in an environment in which the penalties attached to this behaviour ordinarily seem to be overkill, but where there are pretty clear social costs to engaging in it.’

The audience is stated in the area of, ‘Opposing Views.’ Christian Barry’s audience for his article is “fundamentalist libertarians” and “fundamentalist protectors.” Fundamentalist Libertarians individuals believe ‘that all ideas and artistic creation should be held in common and be freely accessible to all.’ These are the downloaders or individuals who are interested in downloading. Fundamentalist Protectors believes ‘that illegal downloading is equivalent to common theft.’ These are either the entertainment industry themselves sending out messages or copyright commercials etc.

Christian Barry consisting in backing up his statements by hyper-linking quotes and paraphrasing  statements made by other sources. Including further quotes, one was a speech made by US President Barak Obama and another source he used was via a YouTube clip ‘Piracy it’s a crime.’

The text and structure that Christian follows is very straight forward. He places the information into sub areas that make the content fluent from one information to another. An example being when he states the view of excluding a theft to than going into Protecting public good he would make the paragraphs short to 3-4 lines long and nearly the exact same length in content. He even uses everyday language and never mentions himself in the texts.

Concluding that the sources and information Christian Barry provides, leading it to be a good source towards the views of downloading however leading to an unanswered question that downloading depends upon the individual’s perceptions rather than it being illegal. Christian Barry states closer to the end that individuals should understand the influence made by downloading while also valuing both sides of downloaders being victims. This concluding the ethics behind downloading and its views.

‘In the meantime, it seems incumbent on consumers to try to respect intellectual property unless doing so imposes unreasonable cost on them.’

Christian Barry, C.B, 2015, ‘Is downloading really stealing? The ethics of digital piracy’, The Conversation, viewed on 11th April 2015.


3 thoughts on “Analyse a Text: Is downloading really stealing? The ethics of digital piracy

  1. A really good post! I like the way that you have bolded each title for each paragraph, rather then just having the title above the paragraph. You did a good job on analysing this text, it seems as if you have broken it down quite a lot to really give the reader the gist of the text. And to answer your question in the title, in a way, yes, I do think it’s stealing but practically the whole world does it, so unless governments come down incredibly strong, regulating everyones computers, then I don’t think illegal downloading will ever stop.

  2. This was a very interesting read! Highlighting each of the aspects of the text allowed me to easily follow your analysis of the text. It was laid out well and was enjoyable to read and you analysed a text that was not written years ago and that allowed me to connect with what you were saying as it was more up to date and i had a good knowledge about it before hand, and the post was so well constructed that i didn’t have to read the full article to get his message as you summarised it well. Good job.

  3. Great post! I really enjoyed this read. It was well structured and I also liked the way you bold each title which not only linked to your previous post but also helped the reader. It was well structured and a well supported analysis. Breaking it down made it feel a lot easier to read and digest for the reader as well. Just to add another point, downloading illegally is not only caused by ones perceptions and free of cost, but also because of convenience and availability. During a recent survey in class about the different types of ‘downloaders’, I found out most people are for downloading, while others don’t mind as they watch shows/movies online due to convenience and availability. Makes me wonder though, would Australia have such high pirating rates if we got shows/movies the same day as America?

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