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Re: Debian machine usage policy

In article <19991112010203.B6779@debian.org> you write:
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>On Fri, Nov 12, 1999 at 04:54:19AM +0000, Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:
>> > 3.  Don't use Debian Facilities for unlawful activities, including, but
>> >     not limited to, software piracy.
>> Word `piracy' should be avoided.

The reason I have heard piracy should be avoided is mentioned in:

"Learning the GNU development tools", section "Confusing words".

Quoting from that document (not saying anything for/against - that
probably would be off-topic here):

     * Piracy: Publishers often refer to prohibited copying as "piracy."
       In this way, they imply that illegal copying is ethically
       equivalent to attacking ships on the high seas, kidnaping and
       murdering the people on them. If you don't believe that illegal
       copying is just like kidnaping and murder, you might prefer not to
       use the word "piracy" to describe it. Neutral terms such as
       "prohibited copying" or "illegal copying" are available for use
       instead. Some of us might even prefer to use a positive term such
       as "sharing information with your neighbor."

IMHO, I see nothing wrong with replacing "piracy" with prohibited or
illegal copying. I think one of these phrases would be more precise.
Regardless of how you feel about the above paragraph.

>I disagree.  RMS' view that software "piracy" should not be likened to
>thievery is irrelivant.  According to the laws of just about everywhere I
>know of, it IS against the law and the label is universally known.  Also,
>I think it's important that something we make available someplace for the
>common reader to find that says we oppose and will not allow our equipment
>to be used for piracy.

I think you may be confusing this with the next bit on Theft (which
is a different issue compared with the word piracy):

     * Theft: Copyright apologists often use words like "stolen" and
       "theft" to describe copyright infringement. At the same time, they
       ask us to treat the legal system as an authority on ethics: if
       copying is forbidden, it must be wrong. So it is pertinent to
       mention that the legal system--at least in the US--rejects the
       idea that copyright infringement is "theft". Copyright advocates
       who use terms like "stolen" are misrepresenting the authority that
       they appeal to. The idea that laws decide what is right or wrong
       is mistaken in general. Laws are, at their best, an attempt to
       achieve justice; to say that laws define justice or ethical
       conduct is turning things upside down.

Again, I am not saying anything for/against.

Brian May <bam@snoopy.apana.org.au>

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