When I was younger, my roommate - Jervs - and I had some friendly competition. We would write songs. He'd always been the more musical. It would take me days to get lyrics right - since I can't rhyme. It would take a few more days to put into a music sheet the notes that are floating in my head. (These were the days when mobile phones were expensive and had no "push-to-record" buttons... and I had a bad memory.)
Anyway, he'd always come up with good songs with good lyrics. And he'd never put them into music sheets. So by simply listening to his songs, I would "look" for the notes on the piano. And play them. As I went on playing his songs, I would tweak it a little. Perhaps an emphasized, sustained pause here and an emphasized note there. (I was aided by my earlier music theory and piano training with the Catholic nuns in the province.)
One time, he took me aside after having played his song on the piano during a small party and told me, "Dude, you're stealing my songs".
In all honesty, I did love his songs - and I did envy the way he would tame the whirl and twirl of both words and notes. But I had no intention of "stealing" his songs.
But looking back now: was I?
"Covers" are not uncommon. And all I was doing at that time was really doing a cover of his song - with my own 'flare and vanity' added in. But in my doing so, was I stealing his song?
These days, I am utterly confused by DRM as well. If I linked to a photo (as I did above), am I stealing it? Or am I just "merely doing a cover" of it? If I cut and pasted from Wikipedia in - say - a thesis, is that stealing? Is that cheating? If I linked to a YouTube video that is from another person who lifted it off another person who lifted it off a music video, is that a violation of DRM?