It occurred to me recently to address the topic of illegally downloaded or copied materials. I find it ironic how the majority of individuals wouldn't think of shoplifting or stealing from a neighbour etc. But, how is obtaining music, movies, or software illegally so much different? I would venture to guess that almost every household has at least a few questionable copies of music or movies around. Many parents are setting a bad example for their kids without even thinking about it... how would they answer if questioned about their 'stealing' habits by their little ones?
There are also very serious legal implications involved with piracy including hefty fines and even jail time depending on where you live. The authorities are taking it much more seriously in recent years, likely due to pressures from the industries affected. Remember, behind every song, movie and game or program is a lot of work and a lot of individuals who count on getting paid to do that work.
Aside from the ethical and legal issues associated with this stealing, there are also some risks involved with the downloading of illegal copies of software etc. The sites and software used to facilitate these downloads often open your system up to such things as pornography and viruses.
So, check your habits first and then work through the family... check the IPod for songs ripped from a friend's CD or downloaded for 'free'...check the Wii or other gaming system for copied or downloaded games...and check if the software you installed on all 4 computers at home is actually licensed to be used that way...
Hopefully someone finds this helpful in better understanding the prevalence and risks of this problem. I'd be happy to hear your comments!