While reading Deuteronomy
tonight, I found a passage which, in my opinion, could be reasonably extended to cover the ethical
standing of Napster
and the copying of mp3
files for personal use.
Deuteronomy 23:24-25 says:
You may eat your fill of the grapes from another man's vineyard, but do not take any away in a container.
It is the same with someone else's grain -- you may eat a few handfuls of it, but don't use a sickle.
(The Living Bible)
In other words, it is permissible to consume the fruit of another's labor in situations where:
- The crop is not damaged, or if it is, the damage is extremely small in comparison with the overall harvest. (Record sales increased after Napster became popular.)
- You do so for personal use, and not to sell to others.
Nor are we commanded to download just a few tracks from an album. You may eat your fill, Moses said of G-d's commandments. Indeed, the Talmud says "We will be held accountable for neglecting to enjoy the legitimate pleasures G-d sends us."
You heard it here first, kids. G-d wants you to share MP3s.