This paper is discussing one of the most controversial issue in the modern era - internet piracy. How different people consider downloading music from the internet? How does it influence on the global ethics…
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Numerous questions continue to be asked as to whether it is right or wrong to download free music from the internet (Gilbertson and Lehman, 2008). This continues to be a hot debate that continues to define and characterize how the larger society and individuals manifest their ability to make ethical decisions. In the center of this debate is that, some people are convinced that downloading free music from the internet is right and they cite numerous reasons to justify their position. However, another group has come out to contradict this position, claiming that the whole process of downloading free music from the internet is both unethical and illegal, while at the same time, it largely demoralizes the creator and songwriters, thereby negatively impacting the music industry (Gilbertson and Lehman, 2008). Nevertheless, the whole process can be viewed within the perspectives of ethical school of thoughts such as Kantianism, Utilitarism, and Social Contract. In general, the whole process of downloading free music from the internet should be perceived as wrong due to its negative consequences to the music industry where it has potential to result into the writer stopping to write music or even the musicians being unable to make more music. Kantian ethics Kantian ethics are heavily associated with Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) who, apart from establishing deontological ethics, is also associated with immense work in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and even aesthetics (McCormick 2005). Quinn (2006, p. 429) looks at Kant’s theory of ethics and concludes that it intends to allow people to view and treat other people as the “ends in themselves, rather than simply as a means to an end.” Kant’s ethical theory has become influential in explaining the moral and ethical world. Numerous works by Kant are established in the ‘The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals’ where Kant work dwelt on “search for and establishment of the supreme principle of morality” (McCormick 2005, p.1). Another wok in the book titled ‘In the Critique of Practical Reason’ also explores the issue of moral and ethics in society (McCormick 2005). The first aspect in Kant’s ethics is the good will, which according to Kant, constitutes acting according to a conception law. Kant observes that, “when we act, whether or not we achieve what we intend with our actions is often beyond our control, so the morality of our actions does not depend upon their outcome and what we can only control is the will behind the action, that is, we can act according to one law rather than another” (McCormick 2005, p.1). The observation and expression of Kant is that an action can be regarded to be moral or not when assessed within the precepts of motivation behind it (McCormick 2005). According to Kant’s understanding, there only exists one thing that is good and has no qualification, and that is goodwill or motive. To Kant, motive constitutes the most important element in determining what is ethical and an action can only pass to be moral when carried out as a result of ‘sense of duty’ (Vlach, 2004). Moral action in this sense is one that is neither based on feelings or pity nor based on the possibility of reward but largely one that is based and is motivated by “this is what I ought to do” (Vlach 2004, p.1). The assumption Kant make postulates that an act can results into negative consequences even when it is acted on moral grounds. Kant’s ethical moral expression can be viewed to promote idea that people need to do what is right guided by conviction that doing it is actually the right thing. On the other hand, people need to avoid doing the wrong things since it is wrong continuing to act on such things. Kant’
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