Piracy Badges All Around: Boy Scouts Take Stand Against Illegal File Sharing

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Hands marking favorite music CD

The Boy Scouts are taking a preliminary stance against piracy. But is it overly cautious? It may not surprise you to hear that when asked as part of a recent survey, 69% of 15 to 19 year-olds don’t believe they should pay for music, but according to a recent article in Scouting Magazine, the official publication of The Boy Scouts Of America, even legal file sharing contributes to the younger generation’s casual approval of Internet piracy. “If you play CDs that you’ve burned—even if they’re legal—your Scouts may not recognize the difference between those and the pirated CDs friends have given them,” claims the article which goes on to point fingers at bands like Radiohead, who according to the Scouts “have further complicated the situation by giving their music away or offering it on a “pay what you want” basis.”

(More on Techland: Digital Privacy: If You’ve Done Nothing Wrong, Do You Have ‘Nothing’ To Hide?)

The issue is murky. Though illegal downloads run rampant through the Web, a move toward cloud-based entertainment libraries will produce less physical evidence of purchase when played externally in devices non-compatible with those files, specifically, like Scouting mentions, in cars.

But does that call for the eradication of all non-purchased CDs? Last week, a column by Techdirt’s Mike Masnick attacked the Scouts’ recommendations on the subject, calling them “ridiculous,” and suggesting that children are smart enough to distinguish the difference between legal and illegal file sharing even with the presence of burned CDs. “The internet is the real world too. And bands like Radiohead haven’t “further complicated the situation.” They’ve helped make it clear that there are smart business models that can be embraced while not turning your fans into criminals.”