Morality, Honesty and Legality

Richmond richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Tue Sep 11 04:50:56 CDT 2012


Do not always coincide.

Consider the following:

1. I bought a Snow Leopard install disk (i.e. I don't use stolen software).

2. I have installed Snow Leopard in VMplayer on a non-Apple machine, and 
told
     the Use-List about this; this is a form of honesty (e.g. not 
pretending I am running
     the OS on an Apple machine).

3. Morality . . . is a personal thing . . . I believe I have done 
nothing immoral.

4. Legality . . . it is, for the sake of argument, illegal to smoke 
tobacco under 18 in Britain,
     and has been for years.

     I have smoked a pipe since I was 16; for 2 years illegally, and 
NEVER immorally.

5. Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

6. One of the real problems (and it is more philosophical than either 
legal or moral) is what
     constitutes possession.

6.1. I have a Snow Leopard install disk on the desk next to me as I type 
this, and its contents
        (i.e. the software) are on the disk.

6.2. I also have a library book on the desk here - on loan for 4 weeks 
from the local library.

6.3. I also have a cup of coffee.

6.4. I also have a book I bought last week.

Now, as far as I can see there is a very clear distinction between #6.2 
and #6.3, #6.1 and 6.4 are less
clear (except, perhaps, for types like R. Stallman who over-simplifies 
things to a ridiculous degree).

Consider a similar sort of question:

I own a copy of RunRev Dreamwriter for Mac (2.6.1) which I no longer use 
. . .

Am I permitted to hand it on (either GIVE or SELL) it to somebody else?

Just as, say, I can hand on the book or the cup of coffee.

Richmond.





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