I recall several years ago hearing a newscasters words, “Another blow for the music industry today. Washington has decided that Internet Service Providers cannot be held responsible for their consumer’s actions and will not be expected to provide the names of their members who download music illegally from the Internet.”

Why do we seem to struggle with this issue? Is not the “john” as culpable as the prostitute? Did we not all gasp at the famous entries in Heidi Fleiss’ diary? If we walked into someone’s home and saw a room filled with stereos and computers, would we not be morally and ethically bound to alert the authorities that we may know someone who is in possession of stolen property?

I don’t understand why we find intangible property such a difficult ethical issue. Do ethics only come into play on issues that we individually find amoral? Are ethics something we adhere to only when it’s convenient? I hope not.

In a day and age when bar and restaurant owners are held liable for the actions of the customer who was given too much to drink and is later involved in a DUI incident, how can we not understand our ethical responsibility in respecting this intangible property?

As more and more of our favorite musical talent are forced to cease recording because they can no longer make a living in the industry, in part, because of this unethical behavior, I’m reminded of articles several years ago in Business Week about former Boeing CEO, Phil Condit, and his ultimate resignation. In an effort to win multi-billion dollar defense contracts, they were found to be in possession of 35,000 pages of documents from their competitor, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Obviously, as with music piracy, we know it’s wrong, but somehow we think it’s okay if we don’t’ get caught. I’m here to tell you, it’s not okay, and I hope if you’re in possession of pirated music, software, or even someone else’s web content, that you find a way to dispose of it.

More importantly, I hope that you will resolve to encourage everyone else you know to do the same. Take pride in your ethical practices and tell others. It can be contagious.
Will it take a bigger wake-up-call than the cries of a struggling music industry to make us take note? Will we need to silence talented artists before we realize that it’s wrong and unethical? Perhaps we don’t have to.

If everyone reading this article could convince one person to make the choice to be more ethical in their business and personal lives, and they “Pay it Forward” to just one more person, imagine the impact we could make on the world we live in. Discuss it openly, debate the issues, and make ethics an important part of your daily life.

Wishing you continued success and the wisdom to consider ethical options.

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net, or contact her at info@internetmarketingvirtualassistant.net