Re: Software copying..

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on February 01, 2003 at 16:22:14:

In Reply to: Software copying.. posted by Scott on January 23, 2003 at 00:27:08:

It's really funny you mention this...

I have been struggling with this myself, and finally decided to try to follow the law.

At least for software, I have found in the past few days that several companies (shareware ones are particularly generous) are open to family license discounts even if they didn't publicize them on their site. So it seems to work with some justice at least in this scenario. Also, I have found there is a lot of freeware out there, and it encourages our developing things under public licenses so that if the law does not compel it, we can under our own initiative add items to become the birthright of all. Of course some sacrifice can be involved, but as with all true sacrifice, it really benefits the person who does it.

As far as music, I find it is nice not to feel as addicted to having either the newest or all of my favorites immediately accessible. It is nice sometimes to treasure it more when you hear it on the radio (or if you feel it is really worth it to buy the album). Hopefully this also inspires us to work to provide more royalty free music, etc.

I do sympathize with those resenting the unjust prices of music retailers trying to push on everyone songs people don't want (forcing you to buy the whole album or buy an extraordinarily expensive single), and hope the music swapping movement may give these executives pause to reconsider their marketing, but in any case, we have to admit it is still illegal and immoral to steal (which copying undeniably is--we take money away from the poor workers for these industries as well as the fatcats). As the Writings indicate, it is not even excusable for a poor man to steal: "They who dwell within the tabernacle of God, and are established upon the seats of everlasting glory, will refuse, though they be dying of hunger, to stretch their hands and seize unlawfully the property of their neighbor, however vile and worthless he may be." (Gleanings, XXI, pp. 49-50) (There is another more direct quotation but I can't seem to find it now.)

Of course, this is a high standard, and the Faith is not blind to social injustices amongst the poor nor does it ignore the disproportional attention given to crimes of a lesser scale at the expense of not focusing enough on greater transgressions. For example: " If a man steals one dollar, he is called a thief and put into prison; if he rapes and pillages an innocent country by military invasion, he is crowned a hero. How ignorant is humankind!" ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, at ) Again, though, as far as our own standards, we are supposed to not just be content with a "relatively" higher standard of morals (the third (forgotten) element of Shoghi Effendi's stated prerequisites of teaching).

Thanks for your thoughful question.

best wishes,

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