The Problem of Software Piracy
The popular conception of software piracy is that it is the activity of a minority of isolated pirate-hobbyists, copying and trading software for their personal consumption. Microsofts allegations reflect a reality that software piracy has expanded from the bedrooms of computer wiz kids to a global trade in stolen software accounting for untold billions of dollars in lost revenue to the software industry. But Microsofts statement is even more telling, in that it indicates the impact of software piracy goes far beyond lost income for software company shareholders. It affects lost jobs in local economies, lost tax revenues to governments, and decreased quality and increased prices for consumers whether private individuals, educational institutions, or businesses.
In order to study the complex problem of software piracy, we intend to conduct a five step ethical analysis. We will begin by stating the facts. We will pay close attention to who did what to whom, how much, and how much it really costs. We will also describe the economic and legal environment of the issue. Second, we will describe the conflict. We will describe the competing higher order values. Next, we will identify the
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