I've been overwhelmingly busy with "real life" for the past week-plus, and have barely peeked into the forum at all since this topic began. Although it was mostly discussing subjects (copyright, artists's right to control their own work, and sharing of music against the artist's wishes) that are often prone to flare-up, the discussion seems to have proceeded mostly in a civil direction.
I did receive complaints yesterday so I've had to pop in here and see what's up. There are many long posts and while I've gained a sense of who's arguing what, I haven't quite determined yet where any lines were crossed. I do know I feel sorry for a lapse in moderation significant enough that a respected long-time member of the forum felt insulted and angry enough to write me off-forum to complain, and say he's frustrated enough that he may not come back.
One thing I've noticed in almost every case over the years when a member has felt insulted enough to want to leave this forum, is that the person that made the comments the first member considered insulting TRULY believed their comments were harmless, and no insult was intended. I would ask everyone to bear in mind, not just on this topic or in discussion of this subject but in general, that if the person you're arguing with seems to be getting very upset and accusing you of ad hominem or personal insults, you might stop for a moment and consider whether your rhetoric might have started shifting from the subject matter to the person.
While we (the moderators) discuss this behind the scenes, I'll ask that everyone restrain themselves in any further comments to this topic. I'm tempted to just lock it, but I believe we can all just cool down for a while.