Crime and Punishment

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The 1866 plot of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel, Crime and Punishment, that focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemma of the impoverished student Romanovich Raskolnikov who kills a pawnbroker with a “noble” intention of ridding the world of evil while benefiting financially, may parallel well with many of the modern-day consumers who seek to circumvent copyright protection in the products they consume. I suspect that many who seek to copy a dvd and post it on the internet or share the music these days do so in order to express their dismay over what they would consider attrocious prices or some other aspect they disagree about. Given the current situation of significantly increased awareness of copyrights and a world where the RIAA sued many “innocent offenders”, many individualsĀ are plagued with the feelings of guilt, remorse and a moral dilemma. To share or not to share — that is the question.

But then there are no easy answers to such dilemmas. An internet society where politics rule the technology to gain control of the riches, what are simple humans to do? Abide by the law — a law that serves the interests of the haves over the have-nots? Rebel against the disparity — “music is the gift of god and it should not be denied”? Share the happiness and joy with friends by sharing the songs? May be? Or NOT!

Good prevails in the society over the evil, so they say. So when a law is broken, punishment is not the only remedy, and those who punish may not have the last laugh. Those who recognize this come to terms that there is a delicate balance in a society, where the majority, it is believed, want to be good. Then, wouldn’t it make sense to have norms enforce the protection? Wouldn’t it be nice if a happy fan sent in that check to the musician? Would it not be greatĀ if the “benevolence” of the industry spurs the interests of the crowd? Ultimately, doesn’t the age-old wisdom say, “there is more satisfaction in pardon that punishment?”

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