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Week 5: Pyramid Discussion: Whole cohort

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By nmas in the group COMP 607: Fall 2015 cohort October 18, 2015 - 9:42am

Hello course-mates,

Let's use this area to discuss the scenarios as prescribed by Terry.

As I was researching the scenarios, I found that I defaulted to the mindset that if it is illegal, it must be unethical. Reading through the other pairs' arguments, particularly, Pairs 3, 6 and 7, it seems like I was not alone. "It is illegal, and therefore it is wrong / unethical." There is no direct relationship between the law and ethical behaviour. What may be illegal in Canada may not even be considered in the legal system of another nation. Does this mean that it is ethical if the law does not distinctly say that the act is illegal?

For the discussion in Pair 4, we considered the scenario where a user made a backup of a game that he purchased. However, in order to make the backup, the copy protection technology had to be circumvented. The Copyright Modernization Act in Canada and the US DMCA do not consider it illegal to make backup copies of software as long as the copy protection technology is not circumvented. Does this make it unethical to do so? There is no intent to profit from making the backup. What if I lived in the Netherlands where the copyright laws are far more lax? Is it suddenly ethical?

The point I am trying to make is that right and wrong cannot be based on the legal system. Morality, ethics and legality may be intertwined but are not one and the same.


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