A lot of comments are being made on DrunkenBlog about the legal case Apple is bringing against the persons who leaked a copy Tiger (next version of OS X). Most of them seems to be in the theme of “they (the defendants) are poor students and can’t afford to defend themselves, so let’s go easy on them”, or “they didn’t mean any harm, suing them is too heavy handed by Apple”, or “Apple has made their point, these people have been punished enough already”, etc.
Speaking in a personal capacity (Adriaan, my ecto partner, had already made an ‘offical’ comment) I think everyone need to take responsibility of their own action. Whether you are poor, rich, young, old, illiterate, or educated; you are still doing wrong. Just because these people did not leak the copy of Tiger in malicious intend, that doesn’t mean they did not do wrong. If they were found guilty of their accused crime, their personal circumstances should, in an ideal world, be taken into account by the judge when sentencing is served. Not that we are living in an ideal world, mind you, but that is the concept nonetheless.
Of course one can argue that since they are poor, they are unable to hire attorney to defend themselves against a multi-billion dollars company that is Apple. Guess what? They should have thought of the possibility of being sued when they shared the file.
I doubt that if the defendants are middle aged software engineers earning 6 figure salaries, there will be as much ‘sympathy’ towards them as these young students. I think fair should be fair, no matter the circumstances.
In closing, I can’t honest believe the defendants are completely innocence about sharing any files on BitTorrent.
I made the foolish assumption that since I wasn’t a developer, and I had a copy that it would be ok if I shared it with 5 or 6 fellow mac fanatics.
“Foolish” is right and he admitted that he is a frequent BitTorrent downloader. So he must knows that once the file is in the open, there is no stopping at “5 or 6 fellow mac fanatics”. Blind trust is a great thing but the real world doesn’t work that way.
They have broken the law, but have they done wrong?
You seem to equate the law with morality. That is, the law is always right, just and fair. Sadly (yes, it saddens me), the law is FAR from just, and far from able to decide right from wrong.
Theoretically, this is where the courts, with juries help us. Because they can decide what to do with the law. The law says they are guilty, but what would reasonable, compassionate, thoughful HUMANS think?
They would probably think (as most seem to) that to find these people guilty would be absurd, and to punish them to such an extent is overly harsh.
“I think everyone need to take responsibility of their own action. Whether you are poor, rich, young, old, illiterate, or educated; you are still doing wrong.” You mean to say, ‘you are still breaking the law’. Sure they broke the law, but was it wrong?
Personally, my morals are not the same as the laws. I often find when you explain to a normal person the nature of the law (for example, copyright), and explain where it came from, what it’s purpose was, and how we got to where we are now… they find that the law is not fair, not just, and not even reasonable. THus, my morals (and many others) run counter to that of the law. Do you need an example to prove this? Note the MASSIVE copyright infringement going on right now on the internet. It’s so huge, it’s significantly affecting traffic patterns on the internet.
Something is broken, then, here. The law is no longer listening to the people, codifying our ethics and morals, but instead acting independantly, trying to tell us what is right and wrong, to force us to conform.
But, i’ve rambled on too long. in summary, i don’t disagree that they broke the law. I just disagree that it was wrong.
I agree that there are laws that are outdated and require updating to fit the modern society. But in the case of copyright laws or intellectual property laws my stand is very clear.
Do you own any intellectual propeties such as music, book, or software? Things that are not phyiscal in its nature? If so you would understand that copyright/IP laws are the only safeguards we have, right now, to protect you as an author. Yes, the laws need to be updated to reflect the advent of digital media but that doesn’t mean that the ownership or distribution of the content can be abusbed.
Do I think the defendant did wrong? In this case, absolutely. He (or they) do not own the software and regardless of signed NDA, the distribution of something they don’t own in the first place is wrong. If you want a real, physical world analogy it is like handling stolen goods. It is not you who stole the property but you redistribute it knowing that it is stolen good. It is wrong.