Originally Posted by chadta
Downloading is not stealing, it's like copying a painting of Picasso and hanging it on your wall. Uploading is copying a painting and giving it to someone else. All the while the original is still in place.
If I could walk up to your house, point a duplicating gun at your car, and then point it into the street and have a second exact same car appear, which I get in and drive away. Did I just steal your car ? or did I reproduce an exact copy ?
Don't laugh because I bet you 50 years ago nobody thought you would be able to do what we can with digital files. A company has reproduced clips for guns using 3D printing, so it may not be as long as you think till a copy of a car can be made.
Terrible analogies in every way.
An original Picasso: makes money for creator from a single buyer who pays a bunch. If that buyer does or does not choose to display the painting for free to the whole world, it makes no financial difference to Picasso and breaks none of his legal rights.
Music and movies: make money from a bunch of people who pay a little. If one buyer shares their purchased film with the whole world for free, it makes a big financial difference to the artist.
A copy of a Picasso: worth an infinitesimal percentage of the original because it is not that actual craftsmanship of a famous artist and not one of a kind. A Picasso derives its worth from being the only one ever created by a very specific individual.
A copy of a digital movie file: identical in content and equal in monetary worth to the the file that could be legally purchased via iTunes or wherever.
Duplicated copy of my car: you didn't steal a car from me (just as burning a copy of a DVD I legally purchased isn't stealing from me). You stole it from the car company that has invested millions in designing and engineering that design. The design of that car is their intellectual property. Just as it would be illegal for a rival car company to duplicate their patented blueprints. This is why we have copyright across all types of mediums.
My point is that stealing doesn't have to involve physically taking something away from another person (e.g. if you steal the Picasso, the original owner no longer has it at all). When an artist legally has the right to distribute (and limit access) to something they've created (like a movie or song), intruding on that right by taking a copy of that movie or song without their permission is illegally treading on that artist's rights.