A poster in YWN's forum asks about copying media:
If, as is the case in some countries, "file sharing" (such as sites like limewire and Kaza, or torrent sites like mininova and bittorent) is legal, provided that it is not done for profit. If that is the case, can somebody explain to me why their would be an issur in copying (if there is any at all), and what, when i copy a cd, movie, etc. from a disc or someone elses ipod, would i be stealing (even the "perpetual lease" to me doesn't seem like it would make a difference, b/c forsure i am allowed to copy my cd onto my ipod, and when i am taking it from the ipod, i am not taking anything from the cd). thanks anyone for the clarification
The next poster brings up the fact that there is a dispute amongst modern poskim about the halachic legality of copying.
How about this approach:
It's wrong because it's simply not an ehrlich thing to do. You know the producers of the CD you bought would object to your copying. You know that if the situation were reversed, and you put a lot of effort into producing a CD, a DVD, a computer program or a book, you wouldn't want it copied and distributed for free to everyone and their brother. Forget whether it might technically be permitted halachically for a minute and actually ask yourself if this is the right thing to do.
Whenever I find myself in these sorts of situations, I ask myself this: is my self-respect worth the $14.99? Suppose I saw a person drop $14.99 in the street. Put aside the issue of hashavas aveida for a minute and assume no one would see you take the money. Would I swoop in, grab the money and pocket it? Of course not -- I'd return it to the person who dropped it, simply because that is how I would like to be treated if I ever lose a sum of money. I know that if the person were aware that they dropped the money that they'd want it back -- I would too. As such, I couldn't fathom keeping it. My self-respect is worth more than that.
The same thing applies to copying CDs. Put aside whether it's legal. Put aside whether it's halachically permissible. Put aside everything else and just ask yourself "if the situation were reversed, what would you want the other person to do?"