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Re: "My dad is a pirate."

From: Beth Kevles
Subject: Re: "My dad is a pirate."
Date: 15 Feb 2008 13:47:49 GMT

Hi --

Patent and copyright, which protect intellectual property, have been
part of US law since the founding of the United States.  Section eight
of the Constitution reads:

"The Congress shall have Power ..... To promote the Progress of Science
and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors
the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

In other words, the purpose of intellectual property law is to encourage
people (authors, composers, inventors) to create intellectual property:
to write, compose and invent.

When you decide to be a "pirate", you have decided to break a law or
laws that have been agreed upon by the society in which you live.  If
you don't like the laws, your ethical choices are:

Engage publicly in civil disobedience, knowing the consequences; or
Work to change the laws.

Anything else is, basically, cheating, certainly illegal, and unethical.

Calling what you do "piracy" may make it sound romantic, dashing or
daring, but really it's just petty and greedy.  If you don't like
intellectual property laws, start writing to your congresspeople, to the
newspapers, organize or join a citizens lobby, and work to get the laws
changed.  But don't just say that the laws don't apply to you.

My two cents,
--Beth Kevles
  bethkevles@gmail.PUT-THE-COM-HERE -- a page for the milk-allergic
  Disclaimer:  Nothing in this message should be construed as medical
  advice.  Please consult with your own medical practicioner.

NOTE:  No email is read at my MIT address.  Use the GMAIL one if you would
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