Wednesday, April 23, 2008

To Copy Or Not To Copy?

Smash them or leave them?
Although (for some) a silly question, i have somewhat difficulty answering it...

When someone buys an original Software CD (i.e. MS Office 2007 or even a game), the software’s legal agreement mentions that you (the buyer) have no right to distribute\copy without approval from company …etc. And if you do, then you could be legally prosecuted.”
In the US, Europe and the Middle-East, there has been a crackdown on Software Piracy (not to forget the Napster closing).
The Question...

Ethically, is it right to take an original CD from a "friend" and copy it onto your PC? what about peer to peer sharing programs (i.e. e-mule, Bicommit, Kaza, imesh...etc.)?
The question is not related to buying from someone as much as it is "borrowing" from someone.

The arguments are:

1- No, ethically you can not take it or copy from anyone by any means. The agreement on the CD is clear. No one has the right to mass copy or distribute the Software... in any way!

2- Yes, you can. It is like borrowing something from a friend, using it and then returning it to him\her again. What’s the problem if my friend wants to lend me something?
If yes, then all the peer to peer sharing programs are ok, becuase we're lending and borrowing things from each other.

Hmmm… what do you think?
Mood: Wondering...


Anonymous said...

I think the fact that many of these companies are exploiting us by charging such ridiculously high prices makes it a little more permissible for us to copy.
The fact is that the prices that corporations such as Windows charge would exclude many people from even operating a PC! If they made pries more reasonable then people wouldn't be forced to resort to such measures!

K said...

I think there's a hole in argument #2. In the case of software products you're not lending it to someone, this friend will take the CD with windows on it for example and will set it up on his PC. No he has his own copy of windows that he didn't pay for.

Tarek said...

Moral Me: It's sure not ethical

Real Copyleftist Me: Come on, Sharing is Caring, and as Linus Trovalds used to day, Softwares are like Sex, They are meant to be Free.

Fadfadation said...


Tab think of it:

That software is not an essential for living (not like food or drink).

What i mean is, we can use your argument (such ridiculously high prices makes it a little more permissible for us to copy) when it is about life essentials...but in this case it is not really.

ya3ny, if you want for it.

eh ra2yek?

Fadfadation said...


Tayeb what about games? you use it for some time and then uninstall it, that's borrowing...wala eh?

Fadfadation said...


If we are going to think lefty lefy...then we can say that even "Open Sourcing" (one of it's reasons) is giving people freedom to manipulate software as they like and that is why a lot of Open Source software is free aslan!

Bas bardo... waht about the expensive stuff like Premavera, AutoCAD, MAthCAD...etc.?

dr.zizo said...

Good topic for discussion.

I am really confused about this issue and don't know what the one should do.

If you reached a solution for it, please send it to me.

Fadfadation said...


Lama 23raf 7aeolak wa2ty :)

the guy who cares about his privacy said...

This is a really tough question . I myself have been trying to minimize the use of pirated softwares or games. I began by shifting to free utilities instead of retail ones , and also i am trying to shift to Linux for now. Although this can really solve the dilemma but its not for everybody.. it's not that easy and it's really hard to convince ppl in Egypt today with the concept of "buying" software.

The other way you can look at this is, well, organizations in some of the developed countries would turn the cheek from ur complaints about infringements their massive multinationals might do in a developing poor country .. so why should u care? well, i really dont like it this way , and i am trying it the other way, but that's what some ppl would reply with.

Fadfadation said...


My problem is specifically the games besara7a... and it is confusing.

the guy who cares about his privacy said...

well fel 7etta di bezaat i cant tell u .. free games are not that good ya3ni
bas if there was a sanely priced game i'd certainly buy that.. and anyways im planning to buy a game that will be released this fall ( starcraft 2 if u wanna know ), and i dont think i will steal games made by egyptian companies, coz these are cheap ( abo 7adeed now costs like 25 Le or something )..