Morally justifiable

When I think about SOPA, I remember a story in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, where Holmes and Watson were engaged in house burglary to steal a document from the villain. Watson at first was aghast hearing at such idea, but Holmes responded that they were doing something which was “morally justifiable, though technically criminal.”

I am not sure whether anti-piracy is still a hallmark of ISCF’s orthodoxy, but I used to think that piracy is basically stealing and stealing is immoral, irrespective of its legality. Back then I disagreed with my friends who thought that although piracy is illegal, it is still moral because it is indeed the anti-piracy law itself which is immoral.  Now I am not as dogmatic as previously. I still buy original products, but I can understand where the opposing view is coming from. The issue is much more complex than “piracy is basically stealing.” It is not a matter of convenience, where I buy the originals only when I could afford to. We need to appreciate the efforts of those software engineers or film makers, but on the other hand corporations can indeed trample upon you. It is, then, not only a matter of intellectual property, but also an issue of social (in)justice.


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