Unauthorized copying

From: Eric Smith <eric_at_brouhaha.com>
Date: Fri Jan 17 14:15:00 2003

Marvin wrote:
> The theft argument assumes *ONLY* that someone is taking something that
> doesn't belong to them without paying for it.

Generally doesn't apply to software. Theft is when Bob takes an item
away from Fred, without Fred's consent, such that at the conclusion of this
"transaction" Bob has the item and Fred does not. Fred is denied the
posession of the item; it has been stolen from him.

Unauthorized copying of software, music, data, and ideas don't fit that
model. Bob can make a copy of Fred's software, but this act does not
deny Fred the posession of the original.

Unauthorized copying is, under some (but not all) cirucumstances, illegal
and/or unethical, but it is NOT theft. It is a different sort of offsense.

Note that I am NOT claiming that unauthorized copying is justified.

Legal "remedies" for unauthorized copying are now completely out of
proportion to the nature of the offense. For example, see this comment
on Slashdot:
Received on Fri Jan 17 2003 - 14:15:00 GMT

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