Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it right. Let's say I steal from a local store. Is it okay to do if I don't get caught? We know that morally stealing is wrong. It doesn't matter where, when, how, why, or who else is doing it. Stealing is always wrong. Morals are not subjective or based on a particular situation.
Besides the moral implications, there is something to be said for the attitude behind the statement. This type of attitude leads to a sense of apathy. This attitude might bleed over into other areas of life. It is a step down a slippery slope.
This attitude also has major implications for the entertainment industry. Often we see the price of music, games, and other entertainment go up because of this very attitude. If people are stealing the material, they are hurting the producers, artists, and other people who work hard to create the entertainment. It would be no different than a person working really hard on a car they want to sell only to have it stolen. When we are dealing with downloads and digital information, it is easy to forget that it is still theft and that we are still hurting the people who generated the item.
I read your statement and keep coming back to the first half of it: everyone is doing it. Having good morals doesn't have anything to do with what "everyone else" is doing, it having the strength to do what is right because it is right and you know the difference between right and wrong. In this case, copying/sharing songs and games is illegal and everyone knows it. What others do is not an excuse for another individual to excuse his illegal and immoral behavior. You certainly can't use that as a defence in a court of law!
This statement is not really about internet piracy, but about two moral positions. The piracy is kind of beside the point, isn't it?
The first moral implication of the statement is that any act can be considered moral or morally appropriate as long as it is seen as being accepted by a majority.
The second moral implication of the statement is that "it's ok to do anything as long as you don't get caught". Though the subject is ostensibly digital copyright infringement, the moral statement being made has little to do with the type of transgressive act and has more to do with the principle that ACT X is only morally wrong if ACT X is discovered, i.e., if you are caught in the act.
I am a little uncomfortable with the previous post- acts like downloading music do not imply a complete breakdown of morality that could be taken to horrible logical conclusions. From a more pragmatic standpoint, legal and moral implications might center around the reality that copyright law is far behind current technological realities. Or, it might suggest that resistance to markups on any commodity have often taken analogous forms to internet piracy. Americans think of refusals to pay import duties on tea, sugar, lead and so on in the colonial period as patriotic, even saintly acts, yet we demonize people who download music for free.
The moral implication is that we should have (if we all followed this thinking) no individual sense of morality. Our morality would simply be up for a vote. Everything that the majority did (endorse slavery, support the Holocaust, whatever) would be good simply because the majority did it.
It is currently illegal to host or download copied intellectual property off the Internet. Downloading material, such as films and novels without paying is called piracy. Why do people do this as it is illegal? It is;
- Extremely convienient. Instead of having to leave your home to purchase the product/s, you can simply sit and start watching/listening!
- No cost! (Except for Internet useage to download the content)
- Usually fairly good quality media.
- Very low chance of being caught and fined.
Morally, to pirate media is wrong. Regardless of the advantages, people still need to consider the disadvantages of downloading copied material;
- Looses the entertainment industry millions of dollars.
- Puts people out of jobs.
- Closes down small business (book shops, DVD rental etc.)
- May be caught and heavily fined.
- Ruins the experience of going into the shops.
Now, not everyone copies IP (Intellectual property). That is just a generalisation, but is is common, and it growing even more common. And there is a significant chance that if the police do wish to check your computer for any illegally downloaded content, regardless of whether you've deleted your history or reset your computer, they will find out, and you will suffer the consequences. So the statement above is a reflection of ignorance and greed, in my opinion, highlighting the negative aspects of today's society of that 'who cares' and 'nobody will see me' attitude.