On the next Philosophy in Action Radio, I'll answer questions on reclaiming lost personality traits, debating Christian versus Objectivist ethics, conning jerks and blowhards, and more. The live broadcast begins at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 24 August 2014. If you can't attend live, be sure to listen to the podcast later.


Intellectual Property

  • Q&A: Fair Use of Intellectual Property: 22 Sep 2013, Question 1
  • Question: What is the moral line between respecting copyrights and fair use? From a moral rather than legal perspective, what are the requirements to respect someone's right to their own work? For example if you have a movie on DVD is it moral to switch it to electronic form for your own use or should you buy the other form? When is quoting from an article or making a spoof fair use versus not respecting the owner's ownership?

    Tags: Copyright, Ethics, Intellectual Property, Moral Attitudes, Respect, Rights, Trader Principle

  • Q&A: The Morality of Jailbreaking: 14 Jul 2013, Question 2
  • Question: Is it morally wrong to 'root' or 'jailbreak' your own electronic devices? Maybe I'm just too stupid or lazy to read through all the legal-ese that comes with these devices, so I don't know whether technically a customer is contractually obligated not to do it. But I know that companies try to design their products so that people can't easily "root" or "jailbreak" them, and clever people find ways to do it. Is doing so a theft of intellectual property?

    Tags: Character, Contracts, Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Technology

  • Q&A: Downloading Music After Hard Drive Failure: 20 May 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Does respecting intellectual property require me to re-purchase my music collection lost due to hard drive failure? Over the years I have purchased quite a bit of digital music and have built quite a large library. Recently, due to a computer crash and lack of backup, a large segment of that library was erased. Since I paid for all of the music that was lost, I would like to restore it, whether by copying from my friends or by downloading illegal copies from the internet. But I am not entirely sure what I have the right to do based on my original purchases. What do you think?

    Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Rights, Technology

  • Q&A: Respecting Intellectual Property Online: 6 May 2012, Question 4
  • Question: Is downloading music from YouTube a violation of intellectual property rights? Given that content creators can remove YouTube videos that violate their intellectual property rights, is it wrong to assume that they consent to the posting if they've not asked to remove it? It is wrong to watch or share clips that seem to be uploaded without permission? It is wrong to download music from YouTube for my own personal use, whether uploaded by the creator or someone else?

    Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Internet, Law, Rights

  • Q&A: Photocopying Essays for Study: 18 Sep 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Is it moral to photocopy an essay for a class or discussion group? My friend and I are starting a reading group at our university focused on philosophy, and the group will meet each week to discuss an essay or article related to philosophy. I want to use one of Ayn Rand's essays from The Virtue of Selfishness. I have purchased and own a copy the book. Is it moral for me to make photocopies of the essay for the purpose of the reading group – or would that violate copyright?

    Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law

  • Q&A: Friendships with Intellectual Property Pirates: 21 Aug 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Should I terminate friendships with people who steal music and other intellectual property from the internet? I don't know a single person who doesn't steal something off the internet. I used to do this myself, but stopped when I realized it was wrong and why. Normally, I would cut off contact with anyone who violates rights, because that's worse than just holding wrong ideas, but the activity is so prevalent now that doing so would end my social life. Even now, my clear moral position strains my friendships. So what should I do?

    Tags: Conflict, Ethics, Friendship, Intellectual Property, Justice, Moral Wrongs, Politics, Relationships, Rights, Sanction

  • Q&A: The Morality of Reverse Engineering: 31 Jul 2011, Question 1
  • Question: Is it immoral to reverse-engineer a product? Is it wrong to take apart a product, improve it, and then sell this new product to others (or use it for yourself)? Is this considered theft or just productive work?

    Tags: Business, Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Politics, Property, Rights, Technology

  • Q&A: The Morality of Lending Books: 22 May 2011, Question 3
  • Question: Is it moral to lend a book to a friend? Given the intellectual property issues regarding downloading music, movies etc. would lending a book, say Atlas Shrugged, to a friend or relative be considered a violation of the rights of the intellectual property holder?

    Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Property, Rights

  • Q&A: The Morality of Pirating Music: 6 Feb 2011, Question 4
  • Question: Is pirating music immoral? Why or why not? In one way I think it must be immoral because it involves gaining the unearned, but there have been (granted I know little of the music industry) many claims that illegal file sharing has actually been good for the music industry in a number of ways. There have also been arguments that it is not technically theft because it involves copying information instead of physically taking it from the owner i.e. the original owner (and creator) has not lost the music even after you have copied it, but this argument seems shoddy by its concrete bound concept of theft and ownership. Simply put, to me, it feels immoral, but I have trouble conceptualizing exactly why.

    Tags: Ethics, Intellectual Property, Law, Music


    Share This Page