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Old 06-19-2002, 11:59 AM   #31
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Yes.. my statement does not apply to people out of school.. On Campus or Off Campus you can get into most Software Reservoirs that Schools have with just your student ID and password from any internet connection wherever one may be located.. Hence my ability to check my ND.Edu Email address even though I'm not "On Campus" anymores.. but this is just clarification maybe.. If it's irrelevant, then just ignore..

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certainly email applications are facilitated off campus but i've never heard of something like photoshop or spss being made available to students on an off campus basis. but i don't think ozaurora was referring to something so simplistic as email.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:23 PM   #32
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Originally posted by kobayashi


certainly email applications are facilitated off campus but i've never heard of something like photoshop or spss being made available to students on an off campus basis. but i don't think ozaurora was referring to something so simplistic as email.
I don't know what Spss is.. And maybe this is not the norm.. but With a Student ID and Password (Being a Student) I am able to download from the Unversity things such as Virus Software (Norton.. MacAfee), PhotoShop, MS Office, Various Engineering Programs.. MatLab or whatever the hell else those guys use, and all kinds of other shit.. On Campus (Connected directly to the School Wide Network) or Off Campus (Just through any Internet Connection) It does not matter.. but apparently this may be an anomoly in regards to Universities..

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Old 06-19-2002, 12:26 PM   #33
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wow. that is impressive. in my experience, such access is unheard of. perhaps the presence of larry lessig at harvard has persuaded the school to liberate its resources.
do you have any idea regarding the particulars of how such a deal was worked out.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:34 PM   #34
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Originally posted by kobayashi
wow. that is impressive. in my experience, such access is unheard of. perhaps the presence of larry lessig at harvard has persuaded the school to liberate its resources.
do you have any idea regarding the particulars of how such a deal was worked out.
Harvard?... I went to Notre Dame.

They tout themselves as having the most technologically advanced and wired Campus and Network in the country.. God Knows they have the money for it.

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Old 06-19-2002, 12:47 PM   #35
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Originally posted by kobayashi
but she is in school. as i'm sure you're aware, but have not considered, school's require you to have certain facilities to carry out your work. though tuition and various fees are paid many schools do not provide such things as specific software, especially off campus to their students.

as i'm sure you're also aware many times the pressures of daily life for a student prevent the individual from spending all their time at school working on said project.

so the student is left with little choice.
Fact is, many of the more important software packages are offered at what are called "educational prices," designed to help both students and faculty to buy their products at lower prices, given that they're used for educational purposes.

For example, Microsoft Office XP Professional normally costs around $580. It's "academic price"? $200.

Further, keep in mind that this is for the full Office XP Pro suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint, AND Access.

Honestly, most college kids ONLY need Word. But let's assume that the student's in grad school (requiring him to make quite a few presentations) AND studying finance (requiring spreadsheet software). Even then, we're talking about three programs:

Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.

Throw in Outlook, and you basically have MS Office 2000 Standard. IT'S academic price is $150.

(I've had to buy more than $150 in books for a single semester before - and that's WITH me looking for good prices on used books.)

That still sounds like a LOT, and it - frankly - it is. But we're also talking about someone who owns a personal computer. A PC owner can probably save up that kind of money fairly easily.

If they can't (which I believe is a wild assumption), most departments offer on-campus labs that include ALL the software you need to do any academic work.

But let's assume the improbable worst:

Let's assume someone must do his academic work at home; he lives so far from campus that he can't regularly work at the labs. We're assuming this person can afford school, books, the commute to at least attend classes, and a personal computer. Unbelievably, this same person can't afford to buy the software he actually needs to do his work.

I think this is a rare case indeed, but would stealing the software at that point be justified? Possibly. Is it still theft? DEFINITELY.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:54 PM   #36
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Harvard?... I went to Notre Dame.
apologies. i am confused today. i'm getting my 'big' schools of the south mixed up.
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Old 06-19-2002, 12:56 PM   #37
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Is it still theft? DEFINITELY.
i know lotsa people who require software that is only located on my campus, live say a half hour away, and need said software at all hours.

i guess it is dependant on a lot of factors, and in my opinion we are both using the word 'assume' a little too much.
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Old 06-19-2002, 01:13 PM   #38
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Originally posted by kobayashi


i know lotsa people who require software that is only located on my campus, live say a half hour away, and need said software at all hours.

i guess it is dependant on a lot of factors, and in my opinion we are both using the word 'assume' a little too much.
And are these people - people who apparently can afford college, books, the 30-minute commute, AND a personal computer - still too destitute to afford the academic prices of the software they need?

It's an argument that is, frankly, hard to swallow in the general case. At the very least, I think those circumstances are so freaking rare that they simply do not justify most cases of piracy.
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Old 06-19-2002, 03:43 PM   #39
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba


And are these people - people who apparently can afford college, books, the 30-minute commute, AND a personal computer - still too destitute to afford the academic prices of the software they need?

It's an argument that is, frankly, hard to swallow in the general case. At the very least, I think those circumstances are so freaking rare that they simply do not justify most cases of piracy.
consider many students are riding a $6500 student loan(the maximum bank student loan in the nation, gov student loans are horribly inept and scholarships are unfortunately rare), maybe a couple of grand from parents, and 4 or 5 grand from your own summer work. that's 12 500 - 13 500 which is now the estimated cost by most of a year at school, excluding software licenses.

this is the situation many canadian students are in and there is very little money left to be flexible with such expenses as software licenses. when i say half hour i mean walk or public transit, i don't mean daddies lexus all the way to school.

in any case i fear we are being far too particular for it to matter. my only point was that in many cases the students are also considerably leaned on.
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Old 06-19-2002, 04:12 PM   #40
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Hello,

I think I stated my opinion already earlier on on pirated software. As such, I try to avoid pirate copies on my computer. Instead, when I need some software, I look for programs that are free by nature.

For all of you who have an illegal copy of MS Office, there is a free (as in beer) office suite out since a month or so: OpenOffice.org. You can find it at (surprise!) http://www.openoffice.org
The suite has a word processor, a spreadsheet program, presentation designer and a light graphic application and is fully compatible with the Microsoft document formats (.doc, .xls, .pps). As said, it is free, but it is a 50 Mb download or so. The application is available for different platforms (currently Windows, Linux and Solaris with a Mac OS X build coming soon) and in many different languages.
(I have to say though that I haven't installed it yet on my computer, I first want to finish my thesis before I go meddling with a different word processor).

Another popular application is WinZip (for compressing files). IIRC this program is shareware, but I think many use it constantly without registering (and paying) it. A very good alternative is UltimateZip. This application is freeware and can be found at http://www.ultimatezip.com (duh!). I use it constantly and it is exactly like WinZip (only free).

Using pirated software is often not just a consequence of not wanting to spend money on software, but of not knowing that free (as in beer) alternatives are around.

C ya!

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Old 06-19-2002, 04:33 PM   #41
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in any case i fear we are being far too particular for it to matter. my only point was that in many cases the students are also considerably leaned on.
We probably ARE being too nit-picky on the subject; either way, I grant that going to school is usually a financially difficult thing to do - requiring aid to pay for tuition (and sometimes books) and often forcing students to "travel cheap," on foot or via public transportation.

That said, I don't believe the situation reduces to something like a VERY poor man - someone who cannot find a job - stealing bread to feed his family.

First of all, software theft presumes HARDWARE. In most cases, the ones who steal software already own personal computers, and it should not be surprising that the claims of personal poverty generally fall on deaf ears.

Second, it is typically driven by convenience rather than actual need: yes, it may be quite inconvenient and fairly difficult to walk to campus to do all your work, but it is NOT some sort of Herculean feat. Students are already expected to do the inconvenient tasks of getting to classes, keeping up with readings, and finishing assignments - and difficulty doesn't exonerate them from doing the work.

(Just as a difficult project doesn't justify cheating, a long commute doesn't justify immoral shortcuts: stealing someone else's bike would make the commute faster, just as stealing someone else's software may make the trip unnecessary. But neither act is justified.)

Third, buying specialized equipment is often assumed. When you study to become an architect, it is presumed that you will buy the drawing tools; a physics major will buy a graphing calculator and the huge reference manual; a music major presumably buys his musical instrument. A graphics student SHOULD expect to invest in the appropriate software - and is expected to do so legally, just as a music major should not steal someone else's flute.

Finally, we are talking about a college student, one who is presumably talented enough to get a job. Of course, students often face heavy demands on their time, but if a student is expected to buy something he cannot afford, there is nothing wrong in further expecting him to earn the necessary cash rather than stealing.

Everything you've mentioned... school costs, commuting difficulties... they're all excuses. They simply do not justify theft.

Let's look at a different scenario: let's say that the same busy, poor student doesn't "need" just the software package for his computer, but lacks BOTH the computer and the software.

It is, I hope, CLEARLY wrong for him to steal the computer, either from a roommate, someone down the hall, or even a Wal-Mart - some megacorporation who can afford the loss.

(If you don't see the clear immorality of the act, particularly if it's stealing from Wal-Mart, I remind you that it is property rights, including rights of the wealthy, that allows our system of capitalism to work so well. You might also want to keep in mind that you're not only hurting a corporation and its stockbrokers, but also its minimum wage employees - including one who may get fired over a missing computer. And, in the end, most moral codes make no distinction about who is robbed: "Thou shalt not steal," NOT "Thou shalt only steal from those who have more than you.")

If it's wrong to steal the computer, why is it okay to steal the software?

The ONLY difference is that you're making a copy: the orignal, rightful owner isn't missing his orginal software packwage. But copyright laws rightfully assert that it is immoral and illegal to copy sheet music or a published book. I believe that the law extends to digitally encoded music and software - that the ONLY difference between stealing hardware and software is an irrelevant difference.

Still theft. Still immoral.
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Old 06-19-2002, 05:41 PM   #42
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Originally posted by Achtung Bubba



It is, I hope, CLEARLY wrong for him to steal the computer, either from a roommate, someone down the hall, or even a Wal-Mart - some megacorporation who can afford the loss.

What if his room mate allows him to use his(the roommate's) computer is this immoral? No. I don't think so.

What if his room mate allows him to use his(the roommate's) software on his own computer is this immoral?


Stealing physical objects is different from copying software sure there are some seminaries (getting something for free) but in the case of copying software the loss to the owner (the software publisher) is much less tangible.

So in some cases I have no problem copying software. What I do have a problem with is paying for copied software, then someone is profiting from someone elseís work.
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Old 06-19-2002, 08:08 PM   #43
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What if his room mate allows him to use his(the roommate's) computer is this immoral? No. I don't think so.

What if his room mate allows him to use his(the roommate's) software on his own computer is this immoral?


Stealing physical objects is different from copying software sure there are some seminaries (getting something for free) but in the case of copying software the loss to the owner (the software publisher) is much less tangible.

So in some cases I have no problem copying software. What I do have a problem with is paying for copied software, then someone is profiting from someone elseís work.
A roommate allowing use of his computer is neither stealing nor immoral - and only legal wankers at Microsoft (license agreements, etc.) would suggest otherwise.

But the difference between that and a roommate letting you use his software on your machine is, I think, pretty clear: instead of two people time-sharing one copy, two copies of the same software can be used SIMULTANEOUSLY. For that reason, I believe that the second case - when it comes down to brass tacks - is actually immoral, even if it is still legal under the concept of "fair use."

(It shouldn't seem strange that an immoral act can be legal. After all, most "little white lies" are legal, unless you're advertising, agreeing to a contract, or taking an oath. And, in many parts of the world, sex outside of marriage is legal - though I still think the act immoral.)

That aside, certainly, the owner's loss through copying is less tangible. You can't find an indication of forced entry into a store or warehouse, and an inventory doesn't reveal any missing goods. Further, the distribution of a thousand illegal copies doesn't mean that the owner lost 1,000 customers; of those who stole, some would have bought the item, others would not - the owner probably lost as customers a significant fraction of that 1,000.

But does this intangibility make the act LESS immoral?

Let me again mention music publishing and book publishing. Let's say Mr. X makes a living writing sheet music (and for many such writers, it's not much of a living). He writes and sells the sheet music for money - and he estimates being able to sell 2,000 copies at $4 each: $8,000. Let's say that somebody then buys one copy, makes 1,000 copies of it, and sells each copy for 50 cents (making $5,000 with very little work - and NO creativity - involved). Let's be generous and assume that only half of those copies were bought by lost customers. Mr. X. then only sells 1,500 copies and makes $6,000. He makes $2,000 less than he would have.

I ask: how is that not stealing?

And let's say that the little theif doesn't sell the work, but gives it away. Mr. X. STILL loses around $2,000.

Again, I ask. How's that NOT stealing?


What's amusing in all this is that the arguments against my position seem to be little more than excuses: "I'm not very rich, and the software just costs too much. Besides, the losses are intangible, and Microsoft can afford the losses anyway."

There's a sense that everyone KNOWS this behavior is wrong, and that they're just trying to come up with scenarios in which their particular behavior is excused.

And what flimsy scenarios, too. This isn't the case of Jean Valjean stealing bread because he's hungry, or of Oskar Schindler lying to protect human lives from the barbarism of genocide.

This is the case of a few thousand people - most of them middle-class or richer, all of them rich enough to afford personal computers - stealing from others out of personal convenience.

There are no excuses.
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Old 06-19-2002, 08:30 PM   #44
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Still theft. Still immoral.
agreed. but again i have never made an attempt at justifying the actions of any person using unlicensed software. i have only attempted to point out the mitigating factors which might surround such use, of which we appear to have reached some consensus. i too am closely related to matters of intellectual property as a student of university, employment as policy analyst for a government scientific granting agency and having done some of my own freelance in the past and present.

personally i find it hard to place the blame on a person outright, without looking at the situational factors surrounding the incident. but that is a whole other matter of opinion
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Old 06-19-2002, 08:36 PM   #45
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Of course, you're probably not in the music industry or in the software industry (I AM in software, by the way), so what the fuck do you care? You don't get hurt, so it's not immoral, right?

This quote really made me quite angry- you dont know me Bubba, you dont know what kind of person I am, what I do and what my personal morals are and to make a statement like that, well to me that just proves how insensitive you really are. I am in the music industry- I write and perform songs and play in a band here on the Sunshine Coast, but I really dont have to and am not going to spend the time justifying myself or my actions to someone as naieve as you.

I can accept that you have different opinions to me, we obviously live in very, very different worlds but I would not criticise you personally for your opinions and make assumptions on your character, without even knowing you- why dont you learn to think before you say something
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