My experience is that the mainstream media struggles to explain legal issues. Often, in trying to simplify complex concepts, the meat gets trimmed beyond recognition. Other times the piece becomes an editorial, riding some populist wave that uses a famous case merely as a backdrop.
A recent article in Fortune magazine, however, hits the mark, providing a balanced perspective on the evolution of file sharing services, the related copyright law and what it all means.
My favorite part is actually a sidebar that clearly illustrates that the latest iteration of file sharing, the so-called cyberlockers, is not without victims. The common argument in favor of file sharing is that the artists will keep producing artistic works, but will find other ways to make money. The sidebar illustrates that this isn't always true. An independent filmmaker named Ellen Seidler went into debt to make a movie, only to see it pirated in over 56,000 locations. Seidler said she "probably won't" make another movie in the wake of that experience.
Some may say that there is no real need to pay for music, for example, when bands make so much money from playing live. But people became fans of those bands that can fill big stadiums through conventional methods of music distribution. They paid money for CDs or MP3s, encouraging the bands to make more music, then tour.
Enjoy the articles. Then go buy a DVD of your favorite movie out of gratitude that the file sharing phenomenon didn't prevent the movie from being made.