- Downloading a song you don't own from a major label artist.
Downloading and sharing are arguably the same action. If a friend or relative owns an album by a major label artist, and wishes to the share the album with me, I'll most likely borrow the album and burn a copy for myself, as would anyone else. If a friend or relative makes me a mixed-tape or CD, I'll of course accept the music. Downloading a song online via a sharing-site is no different in my eyes. This falls alongside the same philosophy and/or context as giving a book or dvd away for free. Online sharing is a way for others to present music for the public, especially since major label artists don't necessarily need my help.
- Downloading a song you don't own from a struggling independent artist.
I only buy records by lesser known, more independent artists, based strictly on principle. The cash that I use to purchase an independent artist's record, goes directly to them on most occasions. My contribution is counted, and appreciated.
- Downloading another copy of a song you already own.
I'm not sure that I'd need to download a second copy in any case, when if I already own a copy on any format it basically serves the same purpose. Today's technology allows me to digitize vinyl records and cassettes, enabling all of my music to be transfered into mp3s. The concept of downloading a second copy of any track doesn't make much sense for those who know these finer points.
- Shoplifting a CD from a store.
No point. I can just download it.
- Downloading a song to "try it out" - if you like it enough, you'll buy the CD.
I know people who subscribe to this philosophy in theory, but I think they're basically inconsistent, or lying. If you download the song, you own the song, why stop there? There are other ways to listen to the tracks on an album without downloading the full track, with so many online stores allowing you to sample the product.
- Copying a CD from a friend.
This is the same as sharing, in every aspect. If I download a song online, I'm going through the same process. I often borrow CDs from friends, upload the material as mp3s and voila!
- Making music you own publicly available on the Internet, such as through KazAa or Limewire.
If I'm inclined to share my music, its strictly on the basis of spreading the word on certain artists that I love. In today's market/climate, it's important to make your favorite work as accessible as possible.