Jaywalking itself may not be a moral judgement (though given it can be dangerous, to others as well as yourself, would that not be a good case for saying it IS a moral issue?), but the point I was making is that one something IS a law, should we not as a society be agreeing that it is good to follow laws, and bad to break them?
No, I don't agree with this. Would you say that someone who drinks is morally superior to someone who smokes pot, purely on the basis that one is legal and one is not?
For example copyright laws are very bad for society in general but good for a very few people who can profit from them. I think most people have some mp3s at the very least, and they don't feel guilty about it, despite knowing it's illegal.
Shouldn't they? I don't have any, because its taking something for free that the person creating it wants me to pay for.....which I regard as theft. Which I regard as morally wrong.
I get that part, but there are a couple of problems with it. First, that limits access to information, technology, and medicine to only those who can afford it. Have you seen the price of college textbooks lately?
How about Lipitor, a life-saving cholesterol medicine that is marked up almost 5,000%? Or companies in developing nations that have to use pirated copies of Windows on all their computers because they simply can't afford the licenses for Microsoft products. Should only the rich have education
, health care, and technology?
Second, that seems to make the argument that without copyright laws artists, writers, and inventors wouldn't make any money and would stop producing new works. This assumes that most of these people only create for financial gain, which isn't true. Most artists never make a dime from their work, they create because they want to
. Without copyright laws, we would probably see far fewer cookie-cutter pop bands who are cobbled together by studio executives to make a quick buck. They won't be missed. True artists will continue to make great music even if they had to get a day job. As far as producing new work, many of the most prolific writers, artists, and inventors, lived before copyrights and patents and were quite successful.
I expect that a significant number of gang members/burglars/pickpockets/insert other crime here don't feel guilty about it either, despite knowing its illegal.
Probably true, but copying isn't stealing. For example if I steal your car, you can't drive it anymore. But if I copy it, you can still drive it, right? It doesn't affect you in the slightest.
Now in a slightly different example, if you are trying to sell that car, and I steal it, you can't sell it anymore. But if I copy it, you can still sell it, right? You might say that you lost the sale because I copied it instead of buying it, but that's not necessarily true. The movie and music industries claim they are losing billions to piracy, but they assume that each illegal download is a lost sale. This is not at all accurate. If Microsoft ever manages to make it impossible to pirate Windows, I will simply switch to Linux.
If everyone copies the car you have for sale, then yes, you will have lost the sale to piracy. But are you really going to complain about a world where everyone gets free cars? A reducto ad absurdem, but it brings up a good point: we are moving towards a world where money is obsolete, thanks to the internet and piracy.
Why do we pay for things? We are trading money for labor. You pay someone for the time it takes them to do or make something for you. In the old days, books were all copied by hand, a laborious processes taking days or weeks to copy a single manuscript. Books were incredibly expensive and only the rich could afford them. Then along came the printing press and moveable type and books became available to almost everyone, that is unless the book is protected by copyrights, then the publisher can charge whatever they want for it. This is why the Bible, which costs not much more to produce than the paper it's printed on, is in the hands of every uneducated plow-pusher in the world but God is Not Great - How Religion Poisons Everything
, a fantastic book that could free their minds from the tyranny of religion is forever out of reach for the people who need it most.
In the past if you wanted to read you went to the bookstore and bought a book. If you wanted music you went to the record store and bought a record. Same with movies, games, and software. Today these things are all available for free on the internet. They are free because there is no longer any labor costs to make these products, beyond their initial creation. No more monks working their quills into the wee hours by candlelight, no more Gutenberg presses converting trees into romance novels. Just click here to download. People around the world have access to information at an unprecedented level in human history at a fraction of the labor and resource cost so small as to be essentially nil. The fact that you consider this a bad thing is lamentable. That fact that it's illegal is downright insulting to humanity.