Software Piracy in Research: A Moral Analysis

TitleSoftware Piracy in Research: A Moral Analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSantillanes, G, Felder, R
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2015
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
KeywordsCOPYRIGHT , Crowdfunding , Fair , Intellectual , Open , Rule , software
AbstractResearchers in virtually every discipline rely on sophisticated proprietary software for their work. However, some researchers are unable to afford the licenses and instead procure the software illegally. We discuss the prohibition of software piracy by intellectual property laws, and argue that the moral basis for the copyright law offers the possibility of cases where software piracy may be morally justified. The ethics codes that scientific institutions abide by are informed by a rule-consequentialist logic: by preserving personal rights to authored works, people able to do so will be incentivized to create. By showing that the law has this rule-consequentialist grounding, we suggest that scientists who blindly adopt their institutional ethics codes will commit themselves to accepting that software piracy could be morally justified, in some cases. 
NotesSantillanes, Gary 1; Email Address: Felder, Ryan 1; Email Address:; Affiliation: 1: Department of Philosophy, Binghamton University, 4400 Vestal Parkway East Binghamton 13902-6000 USA; Source Info: Aug2015, Vol. 21 Issue 4, p967; Subject Term: SOFTWARE piracy; Subject Term: SOFTWARE license agreements; Subject Term: SOFTWARE protection; Subject Term: INTELLECTUAL property; Subject Term: COPYRIGHT; Author-Supplied Keyword: Copyright; Author-Supplied Keyword: Crowdfunding; Author-Supplied Keyword: Fair use; Author-Supplied Keyword: Open source software; Author-Supplied Keyword: Rule consequentialism; Author-Supplied Keyword: Software piracy; NAICS/Industry Codes: 511210 Software Publishers; Number of Pages: 11p; Document Type: Article