"The Case for File Swapping"

Shlomi Fish shlomif at iglu.org.il
Thu Nov 17 16:39:52 GMT 2005

On Thursday 17 November 2005 18:00, Jason Tang wrote:
> On Thu Nov 17, 2005 at 05:31:13PM +0200, Shlomi Fish wrote:
> > On Thursday 17 November 2005 16:24, Peter Hickman wrote:
> > > Shlomi Fish wrote:
> > > >non-commercial distribution of a copyrighted
> > > >work that was released to the public in some form, is ethical, moral
> > > > and should be legal.
> > >
> > > 'Computers' and 'Moral' has a strange ring to it, how about 'Hedge
> > > trimmers' and 'Moral'. Moral and Ethical are very bad words to be read
> > > in relation to computers as they seems to be closely followed by Duty.
> >
> > Why so? Some uses of computers are ethical and possibly also moral.
> > Others are not moral or not even ethical. Would you claim that intruding
> > into someone's computer through the Net, and then publishing private
> > files he has on his computer is ethical? It certainly isn't. One can also
> > use computers to perform mass-scale thefts or defamations (or worse). But
> > these are also not ethical.
> I dont think computers are either ethical or moral directly. They are tools
> of a trade and so its up to the tradesmen to decide how ethically or
> morally they use it. You can replace computer with 'screwdriver' just as
> easily in the previous sentence and would have the same arguement.

Right, a computer is a tool. Computer networks, like the Internet are also 
tools. But they are incredibly complex tools, which open up a lot of 
possibilities, both moral and immoral. I'm not saying we should limit 
computers so a person cannot do any harm using them (The SSSCA/CBDTPA and 
such are trying that). By all means my computer should be fully functional 
and its users should have the capability to attempt to cause damage using it. 
(defamation, theft (of money, goods etc., not of the so-called "Intellectual 
Property"), and other crimes or immoral actions). If not, then one will also 
be limited on the legitimate actions he would be able to take.

On the other hand, I believe that people who abuse computers in such way, 
should be prosecuted or acted against, and that individuals or organisations 
should try to protect themselves against such abuses by using computer 
security measurements.

> > Sorry, but as harmless and as purely-mathematical moving and manipulating
> > bit buckets from one place to another is, it still ends up having effect
> > on the physical, analog world that humans and other organisms live in.
> I think you should look at psychology of humans for your answer.

I don't get it. 

> > > >Meanwhile, it was rejected from Slashdot (not that it surprised me
> > > > that it did).
> > >
> > > A slashdot rejection is not a badge of honour.
> >
> > I realise that. However, the reason I said that was because I became
> > frustrated with getting stuff published in Slashdot. Often an article (by
> > me or otherwise) has hit the entire blogosphere, and was completely
> > absent from Slashdot.
> Its power of the media. They choose what they want/not want to publish.
> C'est la vie dude.

I know. :-) But as Paul Graham notes in:


We increasingly see more and more interesting media items from bloggers and 
other small-scale publishers.

> > OTOH, Slashdot is publishing much bigger junk, including lots of useless
> > utterances by some of the most obscure people.
> See above.


	Shlomi Fish

Shlomi Fish      shlomif at iglu.org.il
Homepage:        http://www.shlomifish.org/

95% of the programmers consider 95% of the code they did not write, in the
bottom 5%.

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