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Recently Emily White, an intern at NPR All Songs Considered and GM of what appears to be her college radio station, wrote a post on the NPR blog in which she acknowledged that while she had 11,000 songs in her music library, she’s only paid for 15 CDs in her life. We believe young people like Emily White who are fully engaged in the music scene are the artist’s biggest allies.We also believe–for reasons we’ll get into–that she has been been badly misinformed by the Free Culture movement.

I believe you are already on the side of musicians and artists and you are just grappling with how to do the right thing.

I applaud your courage in admitting you do not pay for music, and that you do not want to but you are grappling with the moral implications.

I just think that you have been presented with some false choices by what sounds a lot like what we hear from the “Free Culture” adherents.

I must disagree with the underlying premise of what you have written.

You seem to have internalized that ripping 11,000 tracks in your i Pod compared to your purchase of 15 CDs in your lifetime feels pretty disproportionate.

You also seem to recognize that you are not just ripping off the record labels but you are directly ripping off the artist and songwriters whose music you “don’t buy”.It doesn’t really matter that you didn’t take these tracks from a file-sharing site.That may seem like a neat dodge, but I’d suggest to you that from the artist’s point of view, it’s kind of irrelevant.Fairly compensating musicians is not a problem that is up to governments and large corporations to solve.It is not up to them to make it “convenient” so you don’t behave unethically.(Besides–is it really that inconvenient to download a song from i Tunes into your i Phone? I think millions would disagree.) Rather, fairness for musicians is a problem that requires each of us to individually look at our own actions, values and choices and try to anticipate the consequences of our choices.