Chad Perrin: SOB

16 September 2006

Software Piracy Day

Filed under: Geek,Liberty — apotheon @ 01:57

Wednesday, 13 September was Programmer’s Day.

Tuesday, 19 September, will be Talk Like A Pirate DAy.

Split the difference between the 13th and the 19th, and you get today — the 16th.

Split the difference between Programmers and Talking Like A Pirate, and you get Software Piracy.

As such, I hereby declare today, Saturday, 16 September, to be Software Piracy Day.

Okay, so really, today is Software Freedom Day. It’s almost the same thing, though. The major difference is that one is ethical but illegal, and the other is both ethical and legal.

In celebration of Software Freedom Day, I have a gift for you: Read a good book, entirely free of charge.

(Remember that the content of this entry may be distributed under terms of CCD CopyWrite. Why don’t we have a general purpose Intellectual Freedom Day that isn’t limited to software, anyway?)


  1. I am not quote sure how software piracy is ethical. If the law allows someone to write a license that requires payment, and they choose so, you have to respect (not the same as liking) that decision. That’s like driving 50 MPH down a 25 road, because you feel that the speed limit is artificially low to generate speeding tickets. It doesn’t work, you’re just rationalizing selfishness. Some people have arbitrary rules that you may not agree with. If you do not like those rules, you avoid those people. Likewise with software. If you do not like the EULA attached to a piece of software, do not use it. That’s the ethical choice.

    If you are going to justify software piracy, you also have to justify music and movie piracy. You also have to allow all sorts of other things that fall under the same scenarios but have nothing to do with IP. If you pull the old word replacement system and perform reductio ad absudum, it is very easy to construct an arguement which show the rediculousness of trying to claim that software piracy is OK.


    Comment by Justin James — 16 September 2006 @ 07:07

  2. Hate to nitpick again, but I think you mean the 13th and the 19th- I was staring at your sentence for a good minute wondering how the heck you got 16 out of 13 and 16 ;)

    Otherwise I’m also curious as to why you don’t think piracy is unethical.

    Comment by Mina — 16 September 2006 @ 09:01

  3. Mina: You’re right, that was a typo. I fixed it. Thanks.

    Justin James: You seem to have a very authoritarian attitude toward ethicality. The fact that someone announces a rule in no way makes violation of it (the rule) ethical. If there is no ethical basis for the rule, there is no ethical requirement to let the rule restrain you.

    In fact, things like arbitrary speed limit laws designed to generate revenue are unethical because they are coercive in nature. The same is true of EULAs as they are currently employed, because EULAs are imposed after the fact — because it is possible to violate the EULA before you have ever seen its terms, and because you are not given the option to refuse the terms of the EULA before the provider of it is considered to have satisfied its terms, it is in essence the same as putting a gun to someone’s head and demanding that person sign a contract. Even after encountering the EULA, there is no explicit agreement between parties, only an implicit assumption on the part of the vendor issuing the EULA.

    What Microsoft, the RIAA, the MPAA, and others call “piracy” is in effect anything they can get away with suing or prosecuting you for, regardless of ethicality.

    Ethicality and legality are not the same thing.

    Comment by apotheon — 16 September 2006 @ 03:42

  4. Arr, me pegleg poked thru a knothole on Software Piracy day, and keel haul me if I didn’t miss commenting.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 18 September 2006 @ 05:14

  5. Aye, it’s an onerous thing, bein’ a software pirate. I be throwin’ exceptions all day because of too many arrrrrgs.

    Comment by apotheon — 18 September 2006 @ 05:53

  6. arrrg! yer e-mail comment subscription has no wind in her sails yet, matey.

    Comment by Sterling Camden — 19 September 2006 @ 12:59

  7. darn

    I’ll have to figure out what I can do to troubleshoot this.

    Comment by apotheon — 19 September 2006 @ 04:17

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All original content Copyright Chad Perrin: Distributed under the terms of the Open Works License