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Passage Analysis

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Choose one (1) of the follow two passages. These passages are also available as separate Word documents and PDFs posted to week 13A of the Moodle course site.

PASSAGE 1

Downloading Movies from the Internet for Free is Wrong!

Adapted from: “Downloading music from the internet” by Dr. Asher Meir from The Jewish Ethicist. http://www.besr.org/ethicist/downloadmusic.html

It is wrong to download copyright protected movies from the Internet for free using peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing using systems like BitTorrent.

Movies are similar to other public goods like bridges or roads. They cost a lot to create, but once they're around many people can enjoy them at low cost. Just as the government supports bridges by giving builders a concession to collect large tolls, even though your trip costs them a minimal amount, so it supports movie production by granting a copyright which enables the film maker and producer to collect from viewers. Downloading a copyright protected movie for free from the Internet is like making a detour around the toll booth. Even if you don't get a ticket, you've taken a free ride on someone else's investment. Our Sages viewed paying tolls as a prime example of the citizen's duty to obey the law, and emphasized the importance of avoiding even the appearance of evading this duty.

And while it is true that if everybody downloads copyright protected movies for free from the internet, eventually the copyright may be impossible to defend, it's not ethical to join the mob storming the artist's rights. This is comparable to the case where everybody takes a shortcut through a private field until the shortcut is treaded into a path. It may be true that staying away doesn't help the owner once the path is already there, but we should be extra careful to avoid being among those who contribute to commandeering his land in this way.…...

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