Copying Software of Dead Companies

Copying Software of Dead Companies

Post by Ed Watke » Thu, 28 May 1992 11:55:09

> > I am more concerned with the ethical implications...

> Then try this one on:

> Is it ethical to steal something which the law protects as property when you
> cannot show a need for that thing which is greater than the owner's need? As
> far as I've ever learned, the ethics of theft involves need. It would require
> a pretty forceful argument to show you NEED the program.

But in the case I'm talking about, the author has no need for the program
and derives no benefit from it. I'm not even getting into the issue that if
you steal someone's car, they no longer have it, but if you steal a program
from someone, you haven't deprived them of any property (especially if the
person isn't selling it, and has no intention of doing so.).

I would contend that a user has more of a "need" for a program than the
"absentee" copyright holder. More accurately, the user can derive beniefits
from the software while the copyright holder is incapable of getting anything
from it, unless they decide to sell it, in which case it would be possible
to purchase it, so this discussion wouldn't apply. (I hope you see why: I'm
not advocating the pirating of software which can be bought.)

Quote:> > If everyone starts copying a specific piece of software and the copyright
> > holder doesn't try to defend his copyright, then it reverts to the public
> > domain.

> It most certainly does not. A recent case:
> A psychologist published a test measuring peoples' ideas on love in a journal.
> It was quite popular. It was copied and passed around and quoted for years.
> A Boston newspaper decided to publish it in their weekly Sunday suppliment.
> They used this argument to defend themselves against his infringement suit.
> They lost. He let them off easy - $5,000.

So you're saying that if a copyright holder knows that there's blantant
infringement of his copyright going on, and yet does nothing about it for
an extended period of time (say, five years of him watching people infringe
on his copyright), he is still entitled to protection under the copyright
law? This is counter to most everything else I've heard about copyright law.
Of course, I've never read the actual laws. I was under the impression that
a copyright holder must defend his/her/its copyright for it to be worth

Quote:> > You are doing your position a disservice by going off the deep end...

Thanks for quoting me in context. I don't even remember what I wrote.

Quote:> I doubt my statements will affect the copyright laws -- the basis of my
> position -- one iota. The law defines the deep end, whether you personally
> decide to abide by it or your conscience. I much prefer the deep end myself.
> The alternative is shallowness.

You've still failed to justify why what I suggest is wrong, not just "illegal."
Please do so. Try to appeal to reason, not the reptilian urge to follow.


Ed Watkeys, Sys Admin.  "...The errors of great men are more venerable
Distant Software         because they are more fruitful than the truths


1. Copying software of Dead Companies

   gberigan of wrote, in reply to a posting I made:

I never said that librarians were saints!

    That's why you take notes!

    Seriously, a library should register with the copyright center.  Many
do.   Obviously many others don't.  
    But there's another point in all of this:  Practically everyone violates
copyrights from time to time. It's a hot issue indeed.

John Fulton                      sysop gnh-DigiBits (201)288-7269

UUCP: crash!gnh-bauhaus!gnh-tff!gnh-digibits!johnf
AOL: steamboat          

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