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Although the following was written quite some time ago, the underlining theme is even more hard-hitting today. The statements below not only apply to software, but in today’s electronic world, serious penalties for copyright infringement carry over to music, movies, television shows and even
Consider the points made and take the necessary measures to adjust your use of software, electronic music, DVDs, and imagesdvd-best.
florence I’m Florence, Paggui. Here is a good philosophy of life, enjoy the road with flowers and enjoy the road with stones.
paggui GODDI, JAMELA
If I take a DVD with a piece of software on it, without the owner’s approval, then everyone would agree that it is an act of theft. But if I only copy the disc’s content, or downloads it over the internet, and thus do not deprive the owner of any physical object, is it still theft?
The most basic understanding of theft would be when you take possession of someone’s physical property without that someone’s approval, be it a car, a wallet, or some jewels. Prototypically theft involves touchable things, but it can also extend to nonphysical things. For instance, you can illegally empty someone else’s bank account without actually moving any physical coins or money around. It would still be theft, even though no physical objects are involved. In both cases, you would have deprived the rightful owner of something of value.
But can the concept of ‘theft’ be extended to illegal copying and downloading of software? Clearly you have not deprived the owner of anything physical or even digital. You have merely copied it. The software itself is still there in its original place, so how can it be theft?
If I steal a physical DVD with software on it, it is not the disc itself I want. It’s the content of the disc that I want. If I illegally copy or download it, I’m after the same thing. The fact that I’m not taking the software with its physical container/carrier seems irrelevant to me. I have illegally transferred something into my possession that doesn’t belong to me. I have thereby also unduly benefited from someone else’s property. I have infringed on the legal owner’s right to control its distribution. Does this amount to theft? Instinctively I would say yes, it does.
Now, I can understand if people object to this. It’s common to treat words and their meanings as fixed points in the universe. If you have a fixed concept of the word ‘theft’, and try to apply that to illegal copying/downloading, then you would naturally conclude that illegal copying is not an act of theft because you’re not depriving the owner of the thing you’re making a copy of but words and meanings are not fixtures. Nor should they be treated as such. The world around us changes all the time, and so we must constantly re-negotiate our vocabulary to match it. Otherwise our language would eventually be useless.
The meaning of ‘theft’ relies on (at least) three concepts, namely, property, ownership and possession, as well as on how those concepts are transferred between keeper and taker. When the idea of theft was originally thought up (an occasion now long lost to history), there were no digital products around. Now there are. I can have ownership and possession of a physical thing like a car, and I can have ownership and possession of a digital product like a piece of software or a digital recording. A piece of software cannot normally change hands in a physical sense, only copied. That is, while you can transfer the ownership of software, you cannot physically transfer the property itself. You can copy it and then delete the original, but unless you transfer the software’s physical carrier/container, the software by itself cannot be transferred.
If the concept of ‘theft’ depends necessarily on the illegal transfer of the property itself, it should by implication never be possible to steal digital products. To me, there’s something wrong, and obsolete, about that. In principle, anything that can be possessed can also be stolen. It really isn’t that much of a stretch to re-think the idea of ‘theft’ to include illegal copying/downloading. We need to focus on theft as an act of illegally taking possession of a property, and only that. The physical transfer of the property itself does not have to be involved.
I should perhaps emphasize that I’m not talking about the legal definition of ‘theft’ here. I’m trying to understand a colloquial usage of the word ‘theft’, in particular my own. And to be quite frank, I’m not even sure that I’m all that categorical about it. Perhaps we do need a new word for this. I guess my only point is that it’s at least not impossible to think of illegal copying/downloading as an act of theft. Many people do not view software as property because it is not a tangible thing that you can pick up and hold. However, not all property is tangible. Software is intellectual property, just like a song, a book, an article, a trademark or an invention. All of these things are owned, and can be bought, sold and licensed. All of them are used to make money for the people who create them. In the case of most commercial programs, the people who have worked to create them do this work for a living. In most cases, software engineers are not millionaires, they are working people like you who have staked their livelihoods on the programs you are stealing. In a very real sense, you are taking bread from their table by making or using illegal copies.
If you are copying software illegally, you should stop immediately. If you see someone else doing it, tell them to stop. If they don’t stop, turn them in. The practice exposes you and/or the institute to liability, jeopardizes your chances of receiving a good, legitimate deal from vendors, and compromises RIT’s reputation in the business community
case studies below:
You are a computer system manager. An employee out sick and another employee requests that you copy all files from the sick person’s computer to theirs so that they can do some work.
What do you do?
Obvious risk is privacy. Other risk is there might be a complaint suit from the employee. If the work that needs to be done (by employee making request), risk of it not being completed.
Ethical decision depends, in part, on policies and expectations at particular company. Also on perhaps requiring more information. Can call sick employee, but this might not be possible. Request authorization from project manager, or employee’s line manager.
In actual case, system manager refused to transfer all files, but agreed to transfer specific files if given the filenames.
You work for one of the large credit card companies. Someone asks you to get a copy of a person’s file. He will pay you R1000.
What do you do?
Who are the stakeholders?
What alternative actions are open to you?
Which are ethically prohibited or obligatory?
A variant of the scenario:
You know another employee sells files with people’s personal information. Again, what do you do?
You are the manager of a university computer system that provides computer accounts and email facilities to students. You discover that a handful of students have been spamming the entire class and sending junk email to all of the email aliases. You are unable to find out exactly who these students are as they are using a facility out with the university and posting anonymously. What do you do?
These scenarios will be asked to different individuals. Two (2) individuals for each scenario should be interviewed. These individuals should be a professional in your field. Take a video or picture of the interview then let the person sign in your documentation.
Your output will be a portfolio which should be done in a simple blog. You could choose any free blogging sites for your portfolio.
The design of your portfolio should include the following:
A brief overview of who you are in and out (for each member of the pair). With picture of your choice.
Your personal philosophy (belief) on professional ethics.
The topic you selected then below it would be the articles related to your topic then your meta-analysis
Interviews with 2 individuals for each scenario with videos or pictures and other documents in support.
Your own point of view on the scenarios
One of company policy is that segregation of duties is very important for better control purposes. But in some instances like these in case of absences or in leave employees yet their work is a pre-step or pre-requisite to succeeding personnel’s or employee’s work, then there must be a policy when it comes to access on files or work of absent employee that is necessary for work of other employee. Only those specific files allowed and necessary for other employee’s work would be transferred provided for their proper authorization.
In some cases most employees who will be taking leave for any valid reasons would advise or give notice to their line manager and leave from some specific when work must be accomplished during his/her leave.
Sorry that I will not give any copy of a person’s file or our client’s file to anyone without proper authorization and proper verification. I regardless of any offer, as an employee of a credit card company it’s not my duty or obligation to give a copy of a person file to authorize person its our responsibility to protect our clients privacy and serve them well.
We can only give a copy of persons file upon request for our client but with through verification of valid identification and representation or if such information is required b law such compliance with subpoena issued by court in the course of legal proceedings, or if there is a professional duty to disclose or provide a copy of information to defend our self if used by our client.
In case we found out that other employee sells tiles of client’s personal information, it’s our duty to inform those who are in higher authority for proper action of such illegal act (unethical act).
Some procedures we must do when unusual transactions happens would be :
Computer security reviews must be performed
Review authentication and identification controls including password time and day contained access periodic code and password change Random personal information check and automatic log OFF.
Adopt newly developed intrusion detect systems that use artificial intelligence capabilities to detect unusual transactions fallowing thought a system. These are involving and have the prospect of being an order of magnitude improvement in crime detection technology.
D) Fire walls must be installed.
OMGoodnes! I really want to make a blog. When do we start?
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