Let me expand on the painter argument a bit (with me making a few assumptions on how the law works): Let's say I decided to purchase the Mona Lisa. After purchasing it I decide that I'm going to leave it in my basement, and forbid anyone to display a copy or even download a copy from the internet. Anyone who had purchased a copy in the past is free to sell the original, but no new copies are allowed to be made. This would make it very difficult for anyone who hasn't seen the Mona Lisa to ever see it, or for art fans who weren't quick enough to purchase a copy when it was for sale from ever owning a copy. And if everyone abided by the law, slowly but surely all copies would start to disappear (as they get lost or kids spill grape juice on them). If that is within my legal rights, is it morally right for me to deny the world the Mona Lisa (which would be very important to some, but not to me :P), just because I can? And if someone wants to break that law and download a copy, is it any worse (morally) than what I was doing?
(And yes, Monkey Island = the Mona Lisa in historical significance!)
I believe that in the case of old software it is morally wrong to deny people the enjoyment of it just because there is a thousand to one chance they might want to bring back the franchise, and all those copies floating around may somehow hurt that (I'm really not sure how they would. Just because you allow people to freely download your software doesn't mean you are allowing people to steal the idea and characters and re-sell them).
I think we could go back and forth on this issue for quite some time, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. But let me make an attempt at summarizing our discussion:
We both agree that pirating software is illegal, period. No argument there. However I believe that in the case of software which is impossible to buy new (and likely NEVER to be possible), it is not morally wrong to download them. You (Joshi) believe that it is merely a fuzzy moral area, and likely still should be considered wrong.
What do you think?
As an aside, I didn't reach my morality conclusion simply because I don't want to bother hunting something down, and would rather just download it for free. When Sierra decided to release it's old classics in collections recently, I found a Futureshop store that actually carried them and bought them, even though it is particularly easy to download the "Quest" series' on the net. Not that that makes me a wonderful person, but I wanted to make sure I'm not coming off as someone who is just simply cheap and trying to justify his actions.
Last edited by Gremlins; 08-25-2008 at 08:05 PM.