Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...

Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 09:12:13 EST

Very difficult and complex issue.

At 9:44 AM +0000 11/13/05, Owen Green wrote:
>As for plagarism, I don't see how you get there at all. Accepting
>'theft' for the moment; if I write an essay with a stolen ballpoint
>on stolen paper, is that now plagrism?

That may depend upon the intellectual property content of the pen and
paper. As I recall, one never "owns" the software, one purchases a
licence for use.

>Using software libraries as part of some work doesn't change in
>terms of the intellectual egangement with those libraries regardless
>of whether one has honoured their nominal exchange-value, viz.
>saying you wrote something in an environment which you happened to
>have obtained unethically is not the same as handing in the
>environment as your own work (i.e. plagarism).

Possibly it would need to be in the documentation that comes with the work.

At the doctoral level, if I used your contribution without your
permission, would the doctoral committee accept the work? Ask a local
thesis advisor I guess.

>Furthermore, unless the university is exposed to some liability, why
>is it any of their business?

The University asks that work which is not the student's be credited.
Whether it's any of their "business" is probably buried inside the
various Codes of Conduct / Responsibilities of individual

One could imagine the President of a large university being asked the
question: "It has come to light that students in your audio programs
are using illegal software. Does your university support or condone
such violations of applicable copyright laws?"



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