Is Ignorance Bliss When It Comes To Creating Software?
from the why-not? dept
Hiawatha Bray, whose Boston Globe articles I usually like quite a bit, is making fun of the maker of file sharing software Morpheus for daring to claim that he doesn’t want to know what his users are doing with their software. This is, of course, the legal argument that Morpheus (and Grokster and others) are using in their case against the RIAA. They say that they just create software, which has plenty of legitimate uses, so why should they be held accountable if people misuse it. Bray seems to think this is ridiculous, and suggests that these companies are lying. He’s missing the point. There’s a difference in not knowing what people are doing with the software and not being responsible for what people are doing with the software. It shouldn’t matter whether or not the makers of such software know what people are using it for – the issue is whether or not the makers of the software are responsible for what’s done with it. We don’t blame Microsoft every time someone types up a ransom note or a bank robbery note in Word, so why should it be the fault of Morpheus any time someone downloads a song illegally?