Composer Jason Robert Brown is flattered when young singers like his work, but wishes they wouldn’t pirate his sheet music:

I signed on to the website that is most offensive to me, got an account, and typed my name into the Search box. I got 4,000 hits. Four thousand copies of my music were being offered for “trade.” (I put “trade” in quotes because of course it’s not really a trade, since nobody’s giving anything up in exchange for what they get. It’s just making illegal unauthorized copies, and calling it “trade” legitimizes it in an utterly fraudulent way.) I clicked on the most recent addition, and I sent the user who was offering that music an email. This is what I wrote:

Hey there! Can I get you to stop trading my stuff? It’s totally not cool with me. Write me if you have any questions, I’m happy to talk to you about this. jason@jasonrobertbrown.com

Thanks, J.

Nothing too formal or threatening, just a casual sort of suggestion.

His back-and-forth email exchanges with a young fan (Brenna/Eleanor) make for a great discussion on how different copyright looks to different generations and needs. To Brenna, it’s unfair and unrealistic to insist she pay. To Brown, it’s common sense: of course you pay for the things you take.

Brown’s blog post is a few months old, but I hadn’t seen it until it was featured in the latest issue of the The Dramatist.

Also worth a look: a handy guide to the most common rationalizations for copying.