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I have decided to purchase all of the music and movies that I "collected" prior to becoming an Objectivist. I realized that I would be guilty of violating the virtues of Integrity and Justice if I were to keep my collection and do nothing about it. Since I've already answered this question for myself I'm more interested in others giving opinions about what they have done and whether my plans to address the issue are correct. Also just wanted to ask the question because this topic almost slipped by me.

asked Jan 24 '12 at 20:12

CarGuy's gravatar image


You are now practicing Integrity. However, if you wanted to practice Justice, you would turn yourself in. However, given that the penalties for mp3 is very steep...it's a tough call. :)

(Jan 25 '12 at 02:43) Humbug Humbug's gravatar image

Maybe I have an incorrect understanding of what the virtue of Justice means but I am accepting the punishment of paying for those items. If two traders were engaged in a trade and one used force but then later realized the wrong and made good to that trader why does the justice system have to be involved?

(Jan 25 '12 at 15:53) CarGuy CarGuy's gravatar image

I would rather keep the money. The way I look at it is the nature of the product and the technology behind its delivery make it very hard to protect. Its right to pay in exchange for someone's creative output, but if there's no way for them to protect their product from file-sharing, then that's their problem, not yours.

No unwanted consequences can be delivered to those who download - or no such mechanism of consequence delivery has been put in place (yet). Its unfortunate to the artist... but what if you listen to music of dead artists? Who cares?

(Mar 06 '15 at 12:51) Marce11o Marce11o's gravatar image

Also, keep in mind that your mp3 is not the original output of the artist. It's a lower-quality likeness of its original (maybe not even that). A long string of 1s and 0s that are the instructions for your computer/mp3 player to interpret and output a noise that sounds LIKE the original artist's output. Who can really claim that? Who's going to protect that? Its nothing without the hardware you buy to play it (and the software). It barely exists. It exists as a state of electronic memory. Its just mimicked data. But what value it has!

(Mar 06 '15 at 13:44) Marce11o Marce11o's gravatar image
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Does throwing something stolen away make up for the crime? I don't think so. You still had the benefit of listening and/or watching those recordings.

If Integrity and Justice are your goals, it seems to me that what you should do is to buy the music and movies you stole (new copies from a legitimate source, so the producers/creators will receive a portion of the funds). After that, ripping music or video you've purchased for your own use is still legal, fortunately.

answered Jan 25 '12 at 04:39

Rick's gravatar image

Rick ♦

Not sure if your first question is specifically to me or just a further thought. I wasn't suggesting that throwing anything away would be a solution. If I gave that impression from my text it was not intended. I agree completely that throwing a stolen item away doesn't make up for the crime.

(Jan 25 '12 at 15:47) CarGuy CarGuy's gravatar image

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Asked: Jan 24 '12 at 20:12

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Last updated: Mar 06 '15 at 13:48