Possibilities for commercial software?

Dave Crossland dave at lab6.com
Fri Jan 26 19:33:43 CET 2007

On 26/01/07, Jonathon Suggs <jsuggs at murmp.com> wrote:
> I really hate to get in on this discussion

Talking about freedom is important, so thank you for your polite and
rational contribution.

> Dave Crossland wrote:
> > But when I copy software, no one loses it and another person gets it.
> > There's no ethical problem.
> Sorry Dave, but you are wrong.  There IS an ethical problem.  Just
> because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you should.  I agree that
> software (in most cases, but is still ultimately up to the creator)
> *should* be open and "free as in speech."  But whether or not it should
> be "free as in beer" is not your decision to make...it is the creators.
> So, just because you can share the software, doesn't mean that you
> should.  If you do, then yes...you have an ethical problem...sorry.

I'm sorry if my message was not clear. I totally agree with you.

The original point was: It doesn't make sense to equate copying
digital information with stealing physical objects.

Of course, if you have an agreement not to copy, it is wrong to break
that agreement. But it is more wrong to not share with your friends.
Most people have an intuitive understanding of this, and share
unauthorised copies.

The agreement not to copy is based on copyright law, and this was
originally created to benefit the public when they could not make
their own copies. Now that we can make our own copies, a law
prohibiting copying does not benefit us, so we break it. Most people
have an intuitive understanding of this.

How can we escape this moral dilemma, where we are being unethical
with either choice?

We can refuse to use proprietary software, and only use software that
can share legally. That is the best thing to do.

> Besides, if you find the software useful don't you want
> to help in succeed?

The software is only useful in so far as it benefits us. If it tries
to divide our communities by prohibiting sharing, and makes us
helpless to see how it works or change it, I don't think it benefits
us. So I think it deserves to fail :-)


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