I was always the “good son.” I always did what I was told. I always washed the dishes without being asked, I always mowed the lawn on Saturday and washed my father’s car on Sunday. Yeah, I was the kind of kid parents could be proud of. I never lied, never cheated and I never stole. So it goes without saying that I always respected the rights of the major record labels to sell CDs by such artists as Jewel and Eric Clapton. I mean, I may be sixteen, but I have my morals.

Or I had my morals. That is, until I fell under the evil influence of peer-to-peer file sharing.

It began, innocently enough, one day when I was over at my best friend Billy’s house, sneaking peaks at his dad’s collection of Maxims. That’s when Billy’s older brother walked in and said, “Hey dudes! You wanna have some real fun?”

Of course, I had heard about programs like Kazaa and Morpheus. In fact, my health teacher at school had warned us just the day before that downloading unauthorized copies of songs by Al Green or Neil Young could lead to sexual deviancy, drug addiction and liberalism. We even took the pledge, and swore that we’d never, ever, download illicit songs. Plus, if we knew anyone who did, we’d report them to the RIAA immediately.

But there I was. I was watching Billy’s older brother connect with a non-centralized P2P network, and before I knew it, he was downloading the latest Jason Mraz single. And while he was making us copies on his CD burner, he was reassuring us that “no one would know.”

You can guess the rest.

I went straight home and downloaded the entire Belinda Carlisle catalogue off of Morpheus. Then I downloaded Metallica and Sting off of Kazaa. And did I care about how my actions might take food out of the mouths of deserving record company executives? Heck, no! I was hooked!

Then came the night when we heard the knock on the door. I was downloading Puddle Of Mudd and Bryan Adams when I heard, “Open up! This is the Recording Industry Association of America! We have a subpoena!”

You might say that was the night I learned my lesson about ripping off the major labels. You might say that was the night I learned that music piracy doesn’t pay. You might even say that was the night I learned, that if you spend all of your time stealing songs by Buddy Guy, ZZ Top or Toby Keith, you may think that you’re anonymous, but no one, that is no one, escapes the long arm of the RIAA. Yeah, you might say that, but you would be wrong.

Instead, that was the night I learned, that when it comes to music piracy, they always go for the person whose name is on the Internet access account, and in the time it took to burn Reba McEntire’s greatest hits onto a CD, I watched the RIAA handcuff my mother and take her away to P2P prison. Gosh, I’m gonna miss her.

Especially today. Since today is the day that she promised to drive me to the Teens for Dean rally. I guess my health teacher was right after all.