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Free Movies? Not So Fast--That's Stealing. So What Are We Going to Do About It?

Publication Date: 
February 05, 2009
Source: 
U.S. News & World Report Blog
Author: 
Robert Schlesinger

Professor Lawrence Lessig is quoted in a U.S. News & World Report Blog in an opinion piece about a New York Times article regarding digital piracy:

Lawrence Lessig, the distinguished Stanford law professor and a proponent of decriminalizing file-sharing, wrote:

...the single certain consequence from this battle has been one our government is strangely oblivious to: its rendering a generation criminal. A concerted campaign by rights holders, politicians, school administrators, and increasingly parents has convinced kids that their behavior violates the law. But that law breaking continues. We call our kids crooks; after a while, they believe it. And like black marketeers in Soviet Russia, they live life getting comfortable with the idea that what seems "obvious" and "reasonable" to them is a crime. They get used to being criminal.

This fact is deeply corrosive. As with Prohibition, it is profoundly corrupting. And over time, it will only weaken our kids' respect for the law.