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

Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Sun Nov 13 2005 - 09:38:58 EST

You are not in a position to judge which company should stay in business and which should be starved, except by buying or not buying their software. It is theft. Nobody elected you to decide this.

In other words, "theft" is not a personal subjective judgment, it is a judgment by the legitimate institutions of the society.


-----Original Message-----
From: Owen Green <>
Sent: Nov 13, 2005 4:44 AM
Subject: Re: On illegal software in an academic assignment ...

(As student, ex corporate software developer)

I've always found myself curiously ambivilent, which I'm sure will make
me a moral vacuum in some people's opinion. Whilst there is clearly an
eithical issue associated with copyright violation, I've never been
convinced with the application of "theft" in this context, although it
obviously makes for rousing polemic. As far as it goes, I wouldn't mind
if the big 5 were starved out of business, as they're a blight on the
species; OTOH, I would be deeply upset if C74 were starved out of business.

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? 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).

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

Kevin Austin wrote:
> Any comments on this? academic, student, interested by-stander, software
> developer ... etc

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