I have an 11 year old son. Tonight we were talking about Bit Torrent with some friends at dinner table and then somebody asked him, I guess as a representative of a new generation, how he felt about downloading files over the internet and whether it was theft of not. This was his answer.

When you steal from somebody you deprive this person of something, you take it, they lose it. You have a hot dog you are about to eat, I run away with it, I eat it, you don´t. But with music and movie files theft does not take place. You have a file, I copy it with your permission, you still have it. No stealing, and we both have it.

To this I said. Yes but when you have a DVD or a CD you are not really buying a product but you are getting a personal license to enjoy this product. And this was his reply.

Why is this true with DVDs and not with books? How come the books in my school library are there for all the kids to read? Do libraries pay writers per book or per child who reads them? If my friends allow me to make copies of their music, how is that different to what the school library is doing with me? Why can´t I copy their music or films in my hard drive and I can read their books? Why can´t all the kids of a school make a digital library and share the content?

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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