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Opinion: Kids use age-old excuse — "everyone's doing it" — to justify media piracy. So what's new?

andy-merrett.jpgAndy Merrett writes…

I’m sure it’s the classic excuse for why kids and teenagers do pretty much anything their parents (or indeed, The Law) don’t want them to.

“But everyone else is doing it.”

Passing over the classic teacher retort “Well, if everyone else was jumping off a cliff [auditioning for a part in “Lemmings the Movie, perhaps?], would you” (oops), that seems to be the reasoning for kids who copy and distribute music, videos, or software over the Internet.

It has to be a lot less dangerous – at least physically – than jumping off that metaphorical cliff.

A study from the European Commission — which is seriously official and, therefore, must be true — found that a large number of kids knew that what they were doing was illegal, but still did it because they saw both their peers and their parents doing it.

The EC calls this an “implicit form of authorisation”.

I just call it kids wanting the latest music and being too poor to buy it. It could be laziness. Or the possibility that most albums contain mainly crap music and they want to make a mix tape of decent tracks.