The Formation Quest
Social Issues Archive Page-
   submitted by: Dana Barbour
Beyond the Napster Law suit...
Dana addresses this issue by choice given that no one has provided another issue this month. He does because it raises a question which has a simple and moral answer which also speaks to the effect of technological advances upon our laws as written in unreliable word-concepts which otherwise need not show cultural lag nor permit harm to anyone who otherwise should or could know the rules going in regardless of such advances. 
Many musical (and others in literature and the visual arts) applaud Napster for leveling the playing field. They at least have an intuitively-moral response to the old political marketing system which Napster and Diamond Rio, among other groups, also challenge in their own “enlightened” self-interests.  Yet none of these proceeds from our humanly-common formative source politically as a matter of codified law.
The Moral Applications Formationally....
If they did, that law first would distinguish the political act within either the private or public sector of government from the private act also as an interpersonal transaction which fully would be optionable to the individuals. It's then that Napster or anyone else would be free to provide even copyrighted material to the consumer if they would not benefit to earn new wealth through that transaction. In the U.S. this principle earlier was established in its conceptual form in court decisions which made it legal for individuals to tape record music for their own private use, and this also shows an intuitively–moral response within the courts. hat Napster also is politically empowered within the private sector provides no exception to their moral right to level the playing field to the extent their earnings are from other political players who advertise on their site and not directly from the consuming citizen.
It's then that only those who would profit directly from such sales would operate illegally even while the intellectual rights of the artist and those with whom the artist morally would contract also legally would be protected. That the old order which gives top-down protection to contracted others such as record companies and radio stations truly also would change to give power to the people first and the artist second then also would follow.

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Last modified on June 7, 1999