Why does it matter that I have downloaded music without paying for it?

You know it’s illegal. Real people—even University of Maine at Farmington students—have been slapped with thousands of dollars in fines for downloading works for which they do not own the copyrights.

Besides being illegal, downloading music is stealing. Imagine that you are walking down the street. You want to stop somewhere for a soda. You notice that a nearby car has the windows rolled down and a dollar bill in the console between the seats. You reach in and pull out that dollar. Was it a lot of money? No. But was it yours? No. The police will see taking money from a parked car, even an open car with money visible through the window, as stealing. The law will see your downloading music that costs only 99 cents, even though it was available, as stealing. And you should see it as stealing, too.