The problem with "try before you buy" when it comes to books, music, etc

I just ended a rather heated conversation (we still remain friends!) with someone I have know for decades. He told me he thought it was “OK to download music off BitTorrent so I can listen to it and figure out if I like it”.

OK, that’s what clips are for. I asked him how many times he had to listen to music before he decided to buy it, and he said, “I usually don’t like it after I listen to it for a while, so most of the time I don’t buy it”. And THAT my friends is the problem with the argument that you are “just downloading something to see if you like it” – especially if that “something” is a song, or a movie.

Chances are you would get caught and go to jail if you went into a bookstore and put 15-20 books into a bag and tried walking out without paying for them. This is called theft. Theft isn’t just illegal – it’s just not nice. Thieves are assholes. They are the same fuckwads that cut the roof of my convertible open so they could steal $20 worth of CDs. They are the same useless shitwipes that recently busted the driver side window out of a friend’s truck to steal… basically nothing.

There is no legal or moral way to rationalizing consuming something that you have not paid for – unless the owners of that material have no expectation of payment. You can’t read a book and then decide if you like it, and whether or not you want to pay for it, and you can’t legally, morally, or with any self-respect download illegal movies or music (or e-books, software, etc). If you do you are just fucking wrong. Just because you are not leaving your house to commit your crime doesn’t make you any better that the fuckwads that broke into my car.

Stop making excuses for thievery. Buy what you use, and if you can’t afford it, then use less of it, until you reach the point that you CAN afford what you use – be that electricity, gas, books, music or ass-wipe.