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Why don't people think of stealing digital content as theft?

People often don't think of stealing digital content and intellectual property as theft. For example, stealing a Blu-Ray disc from a retail store is something everyone knows is wrong. Many people would tell you they'd never do it under any circumstances.

Going online and downloading the same movie, though, strikes them as a gray area. They may admit that it's not the best idea, but they'll do it. They'll also stream those movies illegally.

This is still theft. Remember, a person who is stealing a Blu-Ray disc does not actually care about the physical product. He or she is interested only in the intellectual property. The same goes for all sorts of creative pursuits, from albums musicians put out to digital books formatted for computers, phones and tablets.

People simply feel like it's different because of the lack of a physical product. After they watch the movie, they can just delete the file and then they don't "have" anything. They don't feel that they have deprived anyone of property or caused someone to lose revenue.

That's not true, as the creators of those artistic products will attest. Someone who downloads content without paying still deprives the artist of the sale. Money is still lost, even if a physical product isn't. Advancements in technology have just made it so that all products are not physical. However, they're still products, and they carry value.

The digital revolution has had many upsides, but it's also created a system in which intellectual property is in greater danger than ever. That's why it's crucial for creators to know their legal rights.

Source: RedState, "Yes, Stealing Intellectual Property Is Stealing," Seton Motley, accessed Nov. 3, 2017

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