'Morality -- Re: CAD electronic software'
|On Wed, 27 Aug 1997, Kalle Pihlajasaari wrote:
> Hi Shane and anyone else who is interested in a moral viewpoint,
> Barely on the PIC topic but has some small relevance to datasheet
> copying, printing and code protection.
Morality is an interesting topic. One that I often contemplate myself. Who
has the authority to decide for all of humanity, what is moral and what
is not? Any two people will have different views on what's right, and
what's wrong. I for example, believe it is wrong to directly hurt another
human being. I think most would agree. The line quickly becomes grey.
Some people think it's ok to steal from large organizations. Luckly, most
people don't. It's true that when someone steels from a place like
wal-mart, the prices go up and the rest of us pay. So really you're
steeling from yourself, your friends, and your family. The company has to
replace the loss of the theft. Which is the price they bought it for,
not the price they are selling it for.
I find it hard to draw a corelation between copying a peice of software,
and steeling that same peice of software off the shelves of a large
computer store. When you steel the software, you are taking a physical
thing, that cost money to manufacture. It didn't cost anywhere near the
amount of money that they are selling it for. I think it's absurd to put a
$600 price tag on a cardboard box containing a manual and a CDrom. In all
likelyhook it cost only about $20 to manufacture. A reasonable selling
price would be closer to $50-90. The guy who thought of it could have $5,
and there'd still be lots of money to trickle around to everyone involved
in the processes of creating the software. And you'd surely sell alot more
If nobody bought software with such a high price tag, we'd soon see the
price comming down to more reasonable levels.
> If morality and intelligence did not have a strong natural (BUT NOT
> EXCLUSIVE, DON'T BITE MY HEAD OFF) correlation then we as the human
> race would indeed have no chance. If we had in general only intelligent
> terrorists and thieves we might as well stop using public transport
> and owning personal property. This is one of the real significant
> reasons that I have faith in human nature, we have survived this long.
We haven't really survied all that long yet. Dinasours were on earth much
longer than humans. Today you'd be hard pressed to find a dinasour. Just
because you survived for a long time, doens't mean you will continue to.
> Without Karma (structured morality) there is very little reason not
> to take a chance.
Karma is good. If more people lived by karma, instead of the dollar, we'd
be better off.
Civil law vs Criminal law. I was simply pointing out that copying software
is not the same as steeling a car. Compare apples to apples. Criminally
illegal and civily illegal are two different things. Either way, you are
breaking the law, and must be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to go out and pirate software, and I'm
not saying that I do it myself. I just wanted to set the record straight.
My point exactly. Most people are willing to speak so loudly against
copying software, yet they won't think twice about making a copy of a
friends audio cd for themselves.
> > Or went to the library and photocopied a specs sheet, or had one faxed,
> > when it should have been purchased.
> The OWNER of the copyright decides if it may or may not be copied
> without payment of licence/royalty. Often copying of standards and
> sections of books is permited for personal STUDY, making money or using
> it in your work is not usually called study.
> If someone faxes you something you can only be accessory after the fact.
Unless you asked them to fax it to you.
> I think the real issue lies in whether one believes any value lies
> in the code, doccument, song, video, movie, car, whatever. If there
> is some value then it can be stolen.
Ok. Stolen implies you removed something from someone's possesion, denying
them the ability to use/enjoy it. Removing it from their possesion implies
that they possessed it in the first place. It's hard to remove royalties
from someones possesion, because they don't have them yet.
But it's still wrong, right? Even though I'm arguing for the right to
pirate software, I have to say I do believe it's wrong. And I do believe
people should get their royalties.
But it's not as simple as that. If it's wrong to steal royalties from
someone, shouldn't it be wrong to make a competing product? Obviously that
denies them their right to recieve royatlies on that product. They won't
sell nearly as many if there is a competing firm involved. So by the same
merrit that copying software is illegal, competition should be illegal
Of course, I realize that that's not practical, and most people won't
even entertain the idea that competition denies someone their right to
recieve royalties. Competition shouldn't be illegal. I'm just pointing out
that it's a very grey issue.
And depending on how you look at it, a different and, no doubt, better
moral point of view can be discovered.
> Ideas do have value, wait till one of yours is taken and hope the
> cost of learning is not as high as the amount of value you have taken
> in your life.
That's my idea! Give it back.<g> Seriously though, theft of ideas is
another grey issue. Sure, it's true that if you steel my idea I can't
make any more money off it. But at the same time you can't take my idea
and add two or three improvments to it. The concept of "idea theft" slows
progress. Wouldn't it be great if you could get the code to Windows 95,
or most any software product, and change the little things that you don't
like? Then give it away to all your friends too. Most software would be
much more reliable if this was the case.
The goal in life should NOT be profit. We should NOT live in a money
oriented society. I am 100% against this. In my mind, a profit driven
society is doomed to fail. If profit was no longer the driving force in
society, all of these "grey" issues, would be called sharing. Not theft.
Money has made sharing with your friends illegal. I think that is morally
> I would love to live and work in a world where I did not have to
> code protect my PICs but mostly I do because it is the only real
> barrier to people stealing a novel idea that may have taken a lot
> of time to create.
> Say YES to morals.
I know my viewpoint is Politically InCorect. I'm not saying no to morals.
Not by any stretch of the imagination. I AM saying that morals aren't
written in stone (well, except for those 10. And I didn't see anything
about stealing ideas in there)
If anyone cares to continue this in private email to reduce list traffic,
feel free to email me. I love the argument and think it will help to
solidify my own developing morals. Right now there's lots of things
that are illegal, that I think shouldn't be. There must be a reason for
these things to be illegal. If the reason is profit driven, you'll have a
hard time changing my mind. If there is another reason, then I'd like to
|On Wed, Aug 27, 1997 at 04:14:01PM -0600, Shane Nelson wrote:
> progress. Wouldn't it be great if you could get the code to Windows 95,
> or most any software product, and change the little things that you don't
> like? Then give it away to all your friends too. Most software would be
There *is* software like this - Linux is a good example. It's free, you
get the source code, and you can make whatever changes you like. It exists
though only because there is a large body of programmers around the world
who have both a need for such software and some expertise in developing it,
and can therefore justify putting some time into it.
Quite a number of system tools fall into this category as well, and there
is a lot of GNU software you can have for free.
However, specific applications software that is not needed by so many
people doesn't work like this - the people who need it and the people
who can write it are disjoint groups, and both groups are much smaller.
In that case there is a transfer of value (== wealth == money) from
the producer group to the consumer group. Without this transfer of value
the producer group will not be able to spare the time to write the software,
and the consumer group will not get the tools they need to do whatever it
is they do.
> The goal in life should NOT be profit. We should NOT live in a money
Profit per se is not bad - in fact since the alternative to profit is loss,
it's essential (the Soviet Union proved that). Excessive profit is bad -
but excessive profits don't come from high-priced products, they come
from concentration of profits. Microsoft is the prime example of this -
their profit margin isn't excessive, once you subtract the middleman's
take, but their huge market share enables them to concentrate profits
and manipulate the market.
Clyde Smith-Stubbs | HI-TECH Software
Email: htsoft.com | Phone Fax clyde
WWW: http://www.htsoft.com/ | USA: (408) 490 2885 (408) 490 2885
PGP: finger htsoft.com | AUS: +61 7 3354 2411 +61 7 3354 2422 clyde
ANSI C for the PIC! Now shipping! See http://www.htsoft.com for more info.
|On Thu, 28 Aug 1997, Clyde Smith-Stubbs wrote:
> There *is* software like this - Linux is a good example. It's free, you
> get the source code, and you can make whatever changes you like. It exists
> though only because there is a large body of programmers around the world
> who have both a need for such software and some expertise in developing it,
> and can therefore justify putting some time into it.
We need more software like this.
> Quite a number of system tools fall into this category as well, and there
> is a lot of GNU software you can have for free.
GNU source code must be distributed freely. You can however
charge for the compiled software. This I would think is an ideal
model. The person who wants to sell it can, and the person who
wants to improve it, and then resell it can also do so.
(I'm not sure what the rule is about reselling it... but I know
the source code has to be freely available)
> However, specific applications software that is not needed by so many
> people doesn't work like this - the people who need it and the people
> who can write it are disjoint groups, and both groups are much smaller.
True, however see below.
This misses my point entirely. Wether you're making a profit, or
a loss, or breaking even you are trying to make money. That's
the only reason for copyright laws, so people can make money. I
propose a system that isn't driven by money. Something driven by
kindness, you're willingness to help. Kind of like the piclist
actually. We all have knowledge, and we all share it for free
knowing that it helps save other people alot of time. We all
routinely give away our time for free, and it's a good system.
We all know that if we put something into the list, chances are
good someone else will say something or help us out and we'll be
paid back in that way.
If all of society worked like this, we wouldn't have theft, or
greed, or hunger or anything like that. Everyone would just do
what they know, the only incentive being that you are helping
someone else accomplish what they wish to do.
It's what I would think is a perfect model. And possibly beyond
the capabilities of the human speices. If we could somehow get
the system working, I'm sure we'd all be living in a happier
(And no, I am not a member of any religious group trying to
convert the piclist to my -ism. These are just my thoughts, and
my thoughts alone. Please steal them and make them better and
get the system working)
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