The Case for File Swapping

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Revision History
Revision 141714 October 2005shlomif
Forked the text from a previous document, and starting to adapt it. Tagged as CC-by 2.5
Revision 142221 October 2005shlomif
Added a rudimentary introduction and the entire terminology section.
Revision 142621 October 2005shlomif
Added a “Why File Swapping should be Legal?” Section.
Revision 142721 October 2005shlomif
Wrote the ”About this Document” section.
Revision 142822 October 2005shlomif
Wrote the “Refuting Common Arguments” section.
Revision 142922 October 2005shlomif
Added two more examples for why file-sharing does not hurt media sales.
Revision 143122 October 2005shlomif
Added the “more legal uses” section.
Revision 143222 October 2005shlomif
Added the “Reflections on Online Stores”.
Revision 143422 October 2005shlomif
Added the “Conclusions”.
Revision 143522 October 2005shlomif
Added the “Other Important Copyrights Issues”.
Revision 143622 October 2005shlomif
Added the “more links” sub-section.
Revision 143822 October 2005shlomif
Went over the article and corrected many problems.
Revision 144606 November 2005shlomif
Added the “Can File Swapping Really be Stopped?” Section.
Revision 144706 November 2005shlomif
Added the “How you can Help” Section.
Revision 145210 November 2005shlomif
Fixed a grammatical problem courtesy of t1ber from
Revision 160118 August 2006shlomif
Added a footnote about the benevolent felons, a note about “stealing from the rich and giving to the poor”, a note about “The Golden Rule”, an entire setion about “The Internet as an Alternative Medium of Distribution”, a section about the historical perspective of copyright law, some links and some corrections. Second Revision.
Revision 160428 August 2006shlomif
Fixed a typo (“who” → “which”).
Revision 161819 November 2006shlomif
Fixed a grammatical problem pointed by a correspondent.
Revision 177320 May 2007shlomif
Corrected some errors (such as spelling, phrasing or grammatical); added more discussion of why copying an artwork is moral; added the merchandise way of making profit, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” anecdote, “Don’t Download this song”, and DRM and the Sony rootkit.
Revision 485405 June 2011shlomif
Convert to Unicode-style quotes.
Revision 523022 September 2012shlomif
Fix some spelling errors.

Table of Contents

Debunking Some Misleading Terms
“Intellectual Property”
“Stealing” or “Theft”
Why File Swapping should be Legal?
It is not a Crime
There are other ways to make money
File Sharing Does not Hurt Media Sales
Media Organisations hunt File Sharers and Prosecute Them
Put it into Perspective
Refuting Common Arguments against File Swapping
The Domino Effect
Violating the Law against File Swapping will Cause Anarchy
Sharing Files is like Disobeying Traffic Laws
“Stealing from the Rich and Giving to the Poor” is still Stealing
The Golden Rule Argument
Uses of File Swapping Services, which are More Legal
Reflections on Online Music Stores
Can File Swapping Really be Stopped?
The Internet as an Alternative Medium of Distribution
Videos and Animations
The Value of Linking
Weird Al Yankovic’s “Don’t Download This Song”
A Historical Perspective
Ancient Times through the Middle Ages
After the Invention of the Press
My Analysis of This
How you can Help
Other Important Copyrights Issues
About this document
About the Author
More Links


The purpose of this article is to explain why Internet file swapping (of media such as music files, video files, etc.) is moral, ethical and should be legal. Plus, people who share files on the Internet or download them, must not be prosecuted.