The CEO of Sopinspace, Society for Public Information Spaces, Philippe Aigrain, has written a great piece on ethics of file sharing now that France is about to send it’s first strike out to file shares. Here are some highlights :
By various steps along the past 30 years, not-for-profit file sharing between individuals for works covered by copyright was rendered illegal in most countries1 and most use cases. This does not prevent me from stating loud and clear that the act of taking a digitally published work one has obtained2, copying it, making it available to others or sending it to them is legitimate and an essential contribution to the establishment of a common culture.
I intend to defend this position by developing the following arguments: making a case for the usefulness of sharing as delimited above, and defending that it is legitimate even without the authorization of authors; showing that when sharing is forbidden, impoverished cultural practice tends to replace empowering ones; and finally stressing that the prohibition of sharing will be regarded one day as a strange form of obscurantism.
1. Sharing is useful and it is legitimate to share digital works authored by others
2. Rewarding and financing the production of digital works shared on the Internet is useful per se, not as a compensation for harm
3. When sharing is made illegal, bad technology and functionality prevails over culturally interesting ones
4. One day, one will wonder how it was possible for some to dare forbidding others to distribute culture
I obviously strongly agree as I have promoted several Reasons to Free Culture Through File Sharing
The full article Sharing is legitimate, can be read at in English:
also available in French: