“Er… Just a Jackson Browne MP3, Dad.”

“What? Are you swapping MP3s on the family computer again?”

“Er… Well…

“Are you?”

“Just a few, Dad.”

“You know how I feel about that, Billy. Sharing unauthorized copies of songs on the family computer, whether they’re by Weezer or Angeles Del Infierno, is just plain wrong.”

“But it was just one, Dad. And it’s a really good song. Besides, I didn’t have the money to buy the CD.”

“And that makes it all right to sit down at the family computer and rip off the record labels?”

“They’re rich. They can afford it. Besides, all the kids at school are doing it.”

“And I suppose that makes it okay, eh? Do you know how much trouble you can cause your parents? I mean, what if Hilary Rosen of the RIAA stopped by and saw you downloading Asylum Street Spankers or Loverboy on the family computer? I’ll tell you what she’d do. She’d arrest us on the spot.”

“Yeah, like she’s going to just walk in without a warrant.”

“They don’t need a warrant when it comes to copyright piracy. Look what happened to the Cleaver family down the street. Ward, June, Wally and the Beav, gone without a trace. Do you want that to happen to us because you couldn’t stop yourself from using the family computer to download illegal copies of songs by Seeking Homer, Toto and Strike Anywhere off of the Net?”


“I’ll bet the RIAA is in town right now, cruising our neighborhood in their unmarked van, scanning for illegal MP3s by The Faint or Cranes.”

“Oh, get real, Dad.”

“Get real? I’ll tell you what’s real, You won’t look so smug when the record label police break down our door and cart us off to Napster prison for storing illegal songs by Les Savy Fav, or an unreleased bootleg by John Tesh, on the family computer. This isn’t like stealing the neighbor’s Porsche, Billy. We’re talking about some serious people. Deadly serious.”

“But.. but…”

“No ‘buts,’ Billy. I will not have the family computer used as a $2000 copyright violation machine. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Dad.”

“‘Yes, Dad,’ what?”

“I will not use the family computer to download illicit songs by hardworking artists such as Jewel and Chely Wright.”


“The family computer is not to be used to rip off the intellectual property that rightfully belongs to the major record labels.”

“Good. Just as long as you understand the consequences of using the family computer to steal songs.”

“Yes, Dad. I understand, Dad.”

“After all, what do you think the computers down at the library are for, anyway?”