my point is noone is being harmed by me getting free songs from the internet.
I may not be physically
harmed when someone pirates my software, but I am financially
harmed. Whether or not they go on to sell that pirated software to others is only a matter of degree.
I've read a particular story a number of times, and have seen it attributed to any number of different people, so I have no idea who deserves credit:
"Once upon a time, a man said to a woman, 'Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?' She said, 'Yes, I would.' He said, 'Would you sleep with me for $20?' She said, 'Of course not! What kind of woman do you think I am?' He said, 'We've already established that. Now we're merely haggling over the price.'"
I don't include that to change the topic, but only to illustrate my point that stealing music for personal use only versus stealing it and selling copies is only a matter of degree.
Secondly, Randall, you argue that you wouldn't have bought the CD anyway. That's fine! That's supposed to be one of your options! You need to consider how badly you want the CD, balance that against the cost, and make a decision whether or not to buy it. If theft is justifiable in cases where you don't like the music enough to spend $16 on it, then why not always
steal the CD? Is it that you think the performer's royalties are merely some sort of gratuity - a tip - which is for you to decide to pay or not pay?
And by the way, how do you know you would never buy the CD? Certainly if you've stolen it, you'll never again even consider buying it - your desire to own the CD, however small, has been satisfied. Let's pretend, though, that you hadn't stolen it. After a few weeks, one or two new tracks from the disk are released for radio play. You like them. Your desire grows, and along with it, your willingness to pay a higher price to obtain it. Just then, you notice a Best Buy ad in the paper - the CD is on sale for $11.99. Desire for the CD and cost have intersected, you make a legal purchase, you're happy with the deal you got, and the performer, their agent, their studio, their producer, Best Buy, etc, all earned their share in the deal. That's how it's supposed to work!
There's more that can be said, but it's dinner time!