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?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Is Ignorance Bliss When It Comes To Creating Software?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
pheloxi says:

sue the record companies!

record companies blame the illigal copying for loss of profits, but record companies completely lost their eyes on suply and demand. if 40% of CDs illigal copies (mp3 and counterfeits) with current price the record companies should be thinking about lowering the prices, like Universal Music Group did in USA. they should do it Europe too. (paralel import will become intresting, but illigal).

another bad thing is that most CDs prices are lowered within 3 to 6 months.

for just released CDs I recomand lowering the prices with 30%. downloading mp3 thru phone connections will be more more expensive, more time consuming and less quality.

another thing is do not give artists big payments in advance, but higher payments per sold CDs. they will make better music and will sell more!

Beck says:


I think the issues here are the same ones that allow Xerox to make photocopy machines. They can be used to make illegal copies of copyrighted material. Heck, they even put photocopy machines in libraries. Is there anything in the library that is NOT copyrighted?

Has any copyright holder ever sued Xerox because someone made a photocopy of their work?

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

This is useful if they can prove that there software is in fact being used for other purposes, ie sharing something other than music. Would REALLY help if a large number of people were using the software for some LEGAL activity.

Then they could use the argument that they just make it and don’t dictate it’s use.

It’s mostly an analogy to the Gun manufacturers. There are a number of legit uses for firearms and therefore they fact they are used illegally for a number of other things can be squarely placed on the user, not the manufacturer.

IF you product is only being used to support illegal activities, you are going to lose in a court of law each and every time.

–RJD —

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...