Teaching Your Kids About Piracy

I just found out this weekend that two of my kids had just started to download named star’s music from YouTube.com. They had found music videos and had used YouTube MP3 converter software, which they had downloaded free, to strip the music file from the video; essentially getting music for free. Yikes! Not only is downloading anything from the YouTube.com website a direct violation of YouTube’s terms of service, but it is plain and simple stealing song revenue from the artist.

I took immediate action and removed the software and removed the songs from their music players and computers. As I had a talk about piracy with all four of my kids and the reality of what could happen, some topics came up which I thought I would share as you consider if you should have this same talk with your kids.

1. They all said they did not know this was a violation on YouTube.com. I took time to show all four kids where to find the terms of use in the footer and encouraged them to always take time to read this before they assumed that they could do anything they wanted with the content.

2. One child asked “if is is illegal, why did the software maker create a program that allows people to do something illegal?” Well, that actually is a very good question, and truthfully I don’t know why YouTube and other sites don’t make a real effort to squash this type of free software. My question back to my kids was “just because you can, doesn’t make it right does it?”

I made a deal with my kids that I would help them buy music in a legitimate way and that music piracy keeps our favorite artist from making more music that we will love when we steal music from them. That’s what piracy is, it is stealing and our kids need to know that. For us music piracy simply does not match our family values.

Do you know how your kids are getting their music? If you haven’t asked, it’s time that you did. You may be as surprised as I was to find out that they thought what they were doing was okay.