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Re: Software piracy- what would you do?

by MeowChow (Vicar)
on Jun 05, 2001 at 02:12 UTC ( #85632=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Software piracy- what would you do?

This hit a nerve.

  • Perl is free. What do you mean by "the perl cd"?
  • I emmigrated at an early age from a country (Russia) with a deep and ubiquitous network of "informers". It's my personal belief that informing, snitching, or otherwise sticking your nose into places where it has no business in order to satisfy one's self-righteousness, to stir things up, or for one's own benefit, is among the most base and cowardly of human acts. Just my opinion.
  • Let the owners of intellectual property do their own damn enforcement and police-work.
Sorry if this is a bit strong; I don't know your motives for reporting on this student, but I have a hard time envisioning a scenario in which I would find it justified.
   MeowChow                                   
               s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print


Comment on Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
Re: Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by merlyn (Sage) on Jun 05, 2001 at 02:14 UTC
    Perl is free, but the Perl Bookshelf CD is not.

    I would appreciate it very much if you protect my right to make a living by reporting every occurance you see of this CD on the net. I worked far too many long hours on these books for you to encourage their piracy. You offend me with your comments. Yes, you just "hit a nerve" with me too.

    I empower you to act as my agent in hunting these down. There, you've been deputized. Please help.

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      This raises another interesting question: I was able to find a site that had The Perl CD Bookshelf available online through Google, and Google has at least partially cached the books. I was able to find the full text of more than one chapter.

      So, even if the site goes down, Google will still have the cached version available. You would think that they would have gotten in trouble for this by now.

      On a related note, I was able to browse MathWorld after the site was (forcibly) taken down by CRC Press, but before the Google cache disappeared.

      After reading through this discussion, I realized that my office had been linking to a copy of Programming Perl in our Web Training Center. I have removed the link, and would like to apologize to merlyn for using it.

      Arashi

      I'm sure Edison turned himself a lot of colors before he invented the lightbulb. - H.S.

      UPDATE: markwild has a valid point, I believed that merlyn would be interested in getting the link so he could work to get it taken offline. If he doesn't have it yet, he can message me for it.
        So if you're really concerned for Merlyn and interested in protecting his rights, why did you publicize this link?
Re: Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by myocom (Deacon) on Jun 05, 2001 at 02:15 UTC
Re: Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by buckaduck (Chaplain) on Jun 05, 2001 at 02:39 UTC
    Since you've clarified via the Chatterbox that you don't care whether this is copyrighted work or not...

    I have to wonder whether you'd feel differently if I saw a burglar carrying all of your possessions out of your house. Should I keep quiet, or do I have a civic duty to call the police?

    This situation really isn't all that different. Theft is theft, regardless of whether it's done physically or via the internet.

    buckaduck

      If you saw someone light up a joint, would you feel it your civic duty to inform on them? I suppose it all comes down to your ethical beliefs. As for myself, I draw the line of "informing" well beyond copyright infringement.
         MeowChow                                   
                     s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print
        It would be nice if you didn't compare apples to oranges. My analogy compared online theft to a physical burglary.

        Your example compares theft to a misdemeanor. Why didn't you just compare theft to jaywalking, if you wanted to be inane about it?

        For a closer analogy, let's just say this. If the guy was smoking my joint without my permission, I'd be pretty darned mad. Okay?

        buckaduck

        Sending the offender a (possibly anonymous) email pointing out his error might be gentler than blowing the whistle, esp. if it was done without malace, he didn't realize it was visible outside his site-licence area, misunderstood the copyright, etc.
Re: Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by ChemBoy (Priest) on Jun 05, 2001 at 02:49 UTC
    It's my personal belief that informing, snitching, or otherwise sticking your nose into places where it has no business in order to satisfy one's self-righteousness, to stir things up, or for one's own benefit, is among the most base and cowardly of human acts. Just my opinion.

    Define "places where it has no business", and we can talk. Is Google such a place? Is this such a place? Is sidewalk in front of your house when you're not there and somebody's breaking into your apartment such a place?

    Along those lines...

    Let the owners of intellectual property do their own damn enforcement and police-work.
    and let the owners of stereos and CDs and TVs stolen out of ground floor apartments while the upstairs neighbors watch do it too?

    I don't dismiss the way this mis-hits your nerves, but I think you're drawing too broad a conclusion. The practice of giving information to the police on suspected law-breaking is not the problem, here or in the old U.S.S.R.: rather, unjust laws there, and arguably here (a can of worms I'll try to stay away from) should be your target.

    I am certainly not a lawyer, but I seem to recall that it is commonly held to be a responsability of all citizens to report crimes that they see: under current law (though you are on record as disagreeing with it), posting somebody else's work on the internet without permission is very distinctly illegal.



    If God had meant us to fly, he would *never* have give us the railroads.
        --Michael Flanders

      Define "places where it has no business"

      I suspect you already know what I mean by this. If it doesn't affect you, it's not your business.

      The practice of giving information to the police on suspected law-breaking is not the problem, here or in the old U.S.S.R.: rather, unjust laws there, and arguably here (a can of worms I'll try to stay away from) should be your target.

      This is a very lucid observation. As I've already replied to buckaduck, it really comes down to one's own value system. I feel that one should not inform on people to "authorities" unless another party has been seriously hurt or victimized by a crime. I don't really consider this to be such a case, mostly because I disagree with the law in question.

         MeowChow                                   
                     s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print
        If it doesn't affect you, it's not your business.

        I am about to make a comparison which may draw 'apples and oranges' accusations. I defend myself in advance by saying that the comparison I make, while extreme, highlights the principle I discuss.

        Suppose that your principle were enacted. Suppose everyone were, legally speaking, an island. Then there would be no responsibility for any individual, who, say, witnessed you being assaulted, to help, or report the crime. If you wish to reap a benefit (such as, in this case, royalties), you do have a duty, whether implicit or explicit, to defend the right of others to do so also. The informers you refer to were not defending any rights of others, but simply infringing privacy for gain. On the other hand, if I report a software pirate, or for that matter any other infringer of copyright, I defend my own treasured right not to have my own work passed off as that of someone else, whether for profit on their part or not. It's not merely about whether you personally have been harmed by a crime, but whether, in an analogous situation, you would want your own rights defended.

        Now, you may not wish to defend merlyn's rights, or to have yours defended. But there is no way under heaven people should be criticised for defending the rights of their neighbours.

        Tiefling
Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by tedv (Pilgrim) on Jun 05, 2001 at 03:13 UTC
    informing, snitching, or otherwise sticking your nose into places where it has no business in order to satisfy one's self-righteousness, to stir things up, or for one's own benefit, is among the most base and cowardly of human acts.

    I must say that I fundamentally disagree. Such an attitude only leads to a total lack of accountability among all affected parties. It leads to mentalities of, "I'll let you get away with your stuff if you let me get away with mine," which in turn makes everyone else distrustful. The end result is that no one trusts anyone, and without trust, no progress can be made. (Would I buy a car if I knew everyone else would look the other way as it was stolen from me?) It is this mentality that causes total industrial, civic, aggricultural, and political stagnation.

    You said you were from the former Soviet Union, correct?... I can't think of a more fitting word for the Soviet experience than "stagnant".

    When you go out of your way to ensure implicit agreements are upheld, the offending person won't trust you, but everyone else in the world will. This trust is the foundation of society. I for one would rather have a someone do the right thing for self-righteous reasons than the wrong thing for self-serving reasons. At least I can trust the one self-righteous actions, if not motives.

    By the way, this concept of "Mutual Trust" being the foundation for societies is not just some half-baked idea. It's actually the foundation of economics. Money is nothing but the embodiment of a favor. When I want something done, I trade my "favors" (money) for what I want. Whoever gets my money can then trade their money for whatever favor they want. This whole system crumbles when no one can trust anyone else to redeem their favor. Ever wonder why Russia's economy has *never* been strong? The whole national mentality is one of mistrust. Most Russian families horde their life savings in American dollars because people at least trust the American government to stand behind their "favors".

    Sorry for getting a little offtopic.

    -Ted
      I must say that I fundamentally disagree. Such an attitude only leads to a total lack of accountability among all affected parties. It leads to mentalities of, "I'll let you get away with your stuff if you let me get away with mine," which in turn makes everyone else distrustful.
      So, by extension, you think that an Orwellian society in which people are willing to turn in their neighbors, friends, and family, is a more "trusting" society?
      The end result is that no one trusts anyone, and without trust, no progress can be made. (Would I buy a car if I knew everyone else would look the other way as it was stolen from me?) It is this mentality that causes total industrial, civic, aggricultural, and political stagnation.
      I believe that you're living in a different America from the one I'm living in. In the America in which I live, business always distrust other businesses, businesses frequently distrust consumers and vice-versa, and everybody distrusts the goverment (or at least the half they disagree with). Nevertheless, progress (as it's generally defined) marches forward.

      Which is not to say that trust doesn't exist in this country, but that trust is either earned, or it takes the form of a nice lengthy contract; it's not implied, and certainly not between strangers. What you have been referring to as trust is actually something else, namely apathy, complacency, and gullibility.

      By the way, this concept of "Mutual Trust" being the foundation for societies is not just some half-baked idea. It's actually the foundation of economics. Money is nothing but the embodiment of a favor. When I want something done, I trade my "favors" (money) for what I want. Whoever gets my money can then trade their money for whatever favor they want.
      Ask the man on the street whether he thinks money is an embodiment of his trust in society. You'll be lucky to receive a blank stare. People use money, because, well because it works. People don't actually think about it on a macroeconomic or philosophical level, so to say that money manifests trust is somewhat misguided. If anything, money is a convenient shared myth.
      Ever wonder why Russia's economy has *never* been strong? The whole national mentality is one of mistrust.
      Russia's failure to sustain a viable economy is a terribly overused rhetorical device to prove anything and everything, and it's a lousy argument. Russia also succeeded in educating their children in the mathematics and sciences to levels that we wouldn't dare imagine for our own schools. Does this prove that a good technical education also leads to a decaying economy? Be weary of generalizing the causes of a complex phenomenon, such as the weakness of a nation's economy.

      Nonetheless, you are absolutely right in saying that the national mentality is one of mistrust. This only proves my point. There was no trust because, among other things, anyone might be an informer on your life, your activities, your beliefs, even your sexual orientation.

      So no, I don't think that a society of people willing to inform on petty crimes creates an environment of trust. Quite the contrary, in fact.

         MeowChow                                   
                     s aamecha.s a..a\u$&owag.print
Re: Software piracy- what would you do?
by pmas (Hermit) on Jun 05, 2001 at 21:02 UTC
    Yes, this discussion did hit a nerve.

    Although I also recently emigrated, and also from former Eastern Block country - From Slovakia (former Czechoslovakia), I do NOT agree with MeowChow. Just the opposite. Widespread neglect to rights of others (intelectual property, and also civic right) was one of the reasons why I decided to leave country where I grow up. It was not easy to leave in 40, basically throwing away all contacts what I build there, and my small software company with surviving product.

    MeowChow protects student's "freedom" to steal CD. Student knows, or should know s/he is stealing. Book is expensive? What about car: woull be MeowChow like student who cannot afford own car drove Meows', while Meow is working and does not need it? Or take a shower in his appartment and then watch TV? Why not?

    When I was running my small company in Slovakia, I bought tools of craft needed: PC, FoxBase and Borland C++. Price of software is very high compared with salary, it hurt a lot, and I confess I did my development on "stolen" copy of FoxBase and paid for it only after I first or second sale. Many other small software developers used only stoled software, but I bought it, because I believe it was fair.

    I wrote this to assure you that even in Eastern block there are many developers who are not comfortable with stealing software. For them, Open Source is a godsend. Let's help it grow, and let's do everything to protect this spirit.

    One of the reasons why tyrant as Stalin was possible in Russia was that people were afraid to protect rights of other citizens. "Better do it to him than me".

    Sorry about long comment mostly repeating what other said, but I just cannot bear than you fellow monks might think that all programmers from Eastern Block are thieves. They are not, and after they come here they are as sensitive to fair play as americans are. I assure you, best of them do pay for tools they use and also expect to be paid fair.

    pmas

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