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ETHICS


To Pay or Not to Pay? How to talk to your guys about the dilemma of downloading.


students in class who don’t see any problem taking something from a Web site, putting it in a paper, and not attributing it to its original source,” he says. “It’s mind-boggling.”


Copyrights and Wrongs Part of the problem, Aretz says, lies in the Internet’s free-for-all nature, where users get all sorts of content free—even information from news- papers that they would have to pay for in the real world. Bands like Radiohead have further complicated the situation by giving their music away or offering it on a “pay what you want” basis. Then there are the complexities of


LAST YEAR, THE BRITISH research firm Human Capital surveyed 1,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 on their attitudes toward music. The results were disturbing, if not surpris- ing. “For this generation, free music is prevalent, easily reached, and largely guilt-free,” the report concluded. In fact, 61 percent of respondents said they didn’t think they should have to pay for the music they listen to, a number that rose to 69 percent among 15 to 19 year olds. Attitudes like that suggest why


20 S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


music sales continue to fall, drop- ping 18 percent from 2007 to 2008, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But music piracy represents more than just an economic issue; it’s also an ethical issue. And it’s one that goes beyond the Top 40. After all, if you get your music free, why not get your term papers free, too? Dr. Tony Aretz, a longtime


Scouter and president of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, knows the dilemma well. “We get


copyright law. If you buy an album on iTunes, you can burn it to a CD for your own use. However, if you buy a CD and lose it, you can’t legally download the album without paying for it a second time. Adults usually can navigate such distinctions. But adolescents can’t, according to Aretz. “They’re a group that looks at the world as very black and white; they don’t see gray,” he says. “And the way people who can’t see gray deal with gray is that they force it into their black-and-white world, even if it’s incorrect.”


Teach the Principles So how can Scouters teach ethical behavior related to music download- ing? One way: Set a good example. When you haul around Scouts in your car, for example, only play CDs that you’ve purchased. If you play CDs that you’ve burned—even if they’re legal—your Scouts may not recognize the difference between


THOMAS FUCHS


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