Sunday, June 19, 2005

Second Ethics Article

My second ethics article is written and sent to the Games Journal. Actually, I wrote a nice long article two weeks ago and sent it to Greg, who wrote back that most of it would be uninteresting to the readers, which is what my wife had said, too.

I am covering the topic of "playing games without buying them", and I went on for 2-3 pages on the legal and ethical aspects of copyrights and patents before getting down to business on the last page and a half about how it all relates to games.

I cut it down and resubmitted it; now it is only the page and a half long. Maybe I'll post the entire original piece here sometime, or the parts that I cut out. I certainly find the topic interesting, at least.

The biggest discovery is the pervasive and highly incorrect use in everyday journalism of calling people who violate copyright laws "pirates" who are guilty of "stealing". This is totally without foundation, both legally and morally.

Yes, people who violate copyright laws are doing something illegal - they are in violation of copyright. Violation of copyright is not in any way theft. Nothing has been stolen.

People forget that something that is published is now in the public domain; in fact, that is the legal definition of publishing - putting it into the public domain. Governments, in order to encourage the best ideas to get into the public domain, placed a certain limited restriction on the basic right of individuals to copy text and pictures for a duration just long enough to encourage publication.

So you can't copy when something is first published, because it is a violation of copyright. But theft? Piracy? Give me a break.

Yehuda
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