Do you think this is unethical?
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27-06-2012, 08:45 AM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(18-06-2012 12:50 AM)cufflink Wrote:  The Moral Philosophy thread got me thinking about a particular contemporary situation that involves making an ethical choice, and I was curious how everybody felt about it. I'll keep the description generic, since it applies to several specific cases.

A popular online publication, X--typically a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, or journal--used to offer up its articles free for the taking. Recently, however, the management of X decided to make readers pay a monthly fee. Anyone can read a certain number of articles, say 10, free of charge. After that, you're blocked from any more articles that month unless you pay up.

Y is a long-time reader of X and resents the fact he's now being asked to pay for something that used to be free. He's fairly tech-savvy, however, and after a few minutes' investigation has discovered he can easily defeat the block. It's just a matter of locating and removing a counting cookie placed on his hard drive by the X web site. After he reads his 10 free articles, he removes the cookie and the counter is reset to zero. It's a bit of a nuisance to do this every 10 articles, but it gives him unlimited access to all of X's content without having to subscribe.

The question is, is Y acting unethically? To put it bluntly, is he stealing from X? A related question is, what would you do if you were in Y's position? And did you have to think about your decision and weigh various factors, or was it immediately clear to you, i.e. a no-brainer?


Nope not unethical at all. I would do it. If they made it that simple to "hack" then they are the idiots not "Y."
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25-07-2012, 11:32 PM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
Pay for it if you want the service to continue. "Steal" it if you don't care if they go under.
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02-08-2012, 01:10 AM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
Yes it is unethical, but so is putting a tracking cookie on your computer without asking first. Send them an email and bill them the same amount they want to charge you
for putting tracking cookies on your computer without asking.
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03-08-2012, 07:52 PM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(18-06-2012 12:50 AM)cufflink Wrote:  The Moral Philosophy thread got me thinking about a particular contemporary situation that involves making an ethical choice, and I was curious how everybody felt about it. I'll keep the description generic, since it applies to several specific cases.

A popular online publication, X--typically a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, or journal--used to offer up its articles free for the taking. Recently, however, the management of X decided to make readers pay a monthly fee. Anyone can read a certain number of articles, say 10, free of charge. After that, you're blocked from any more articles that month unless you pay up.

Y is a long-time reader of X and resents the fact he's now being asked to pay for something that used to be free. He's fairly tech-savvy, however, and after a few minutes' investigation has discovered he can easily defeat the block. It's just a matter of locating and removing a counting cookie placed on his hard drive by the X web site. After he reads his 10 free articles, he removes the cookie and the counter is reset to zero. It's a bit of a nuisance to do this every 10 articles, but it gives him unlimited access to all of X's content without having to subscribe.

The question is, is Y acting unethically? To put it bluntly, is he stealing from X? A related question is, what would you do if you were in Y's position? And did you have to think about your decision and weigh various factors, or was it immediately clear to you, i.e. a no-brainer?

Technically, the person is not stealing anything at all. I maintain this stance for the majority of internet piracy.

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03-08-2012, 08:10 PM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(03-08-2012 07:52 PM)Logica Humano Wrote:  
(18-06-2012 12:50 AM)cufflink Wrote:  The Moral Philosophy thread got me thinking about a particular contemporary situation that involves making an ethical choice, and I was curious how everybody felt about it. I'll keep the description generic, since it applies to several specific cases.

A popular online publication, X--typically a newspaper, newsletter, magazine, or journal--used to offer up its articles free for the taking. Recently, however, the management of X decided to make readers pay a monthly fee. Anyone can read a certain number of articles, say 10, free of charge. After that, you're blocked from any more articles that month unless you pay up.

Y is a long-time reader of X and resents the fact he's now being asked to pay for something that used to be free. He's fairly tech-savvy, however, and after a few minutes' investigation has discovered he can easily defeat the block. It's just a matter of locating and removing a counting cookie placed on his hard drive by the X web site. After he reads his 10 free articles, he removes the cookie and the counter is reset to zero. It's a bit of a nuisance to do this every 10 articles, but it gives him unlimited access to all of X's content without having to subscribe.

The question is, is Y acting unethically? To put it bluntly, is he stealing from X? A related question is, what would you do if you were in Y's position? And did you have to think about your decision and weigh various factors, or was it immediately clear to you, i.e. a no-brainer?

Technically, the person is not stealing anything at all. I maintain this stance for the majority of internet piracy.

Owners of intellectual property, the law, and the courts don't agree with you.

I just finished filing a software patent. Do you honestly think it is OK for you to download a copy of my software and use it for free just because you find a way to do so? Or download and use my copyrighted photographs?

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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03-08-2012, 09:33 PM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
It is unethical if your ethics include not stealing from others. The company offers content for a fee, but gives you ten free samples. They use a very rudimentary form of control (cookies) but you circumvent it by deleting the cookies and keep taking more free samples than they offered. You're clearly taking something that the other party is not willingly giving you. That's stealing.

However it's probably not illegal. Their form of control (cookies) is so rudimentary, and easily circumvented, and can even be unintentionally circumvented (e.g. a disk cleanup tool that deletes cookes) that they might not pass a reasonable protection test, especially when more robust protection schemes (eg passwords) are in common use and readily available.
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03-08-2012, 10:12 PM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
I see it the same as if a news vendor carries a magazine that for establishment reasons offers their mag for free for a few issues, then when people find it worth reading they then charge for it. It costs them for the free copies, but the readership it garners is worth it. You then find a hole in the wall of the news stand where you can stick your hand through and just take a copy without being noticed. This would be stealing , yes? Copyright law is very clear, and does cover such things. To take something of another's invention or labour without paying what they deem appropriate compensation, is stealing.
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04-08-2012, 10:04 AM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(18-06-2012 04:06 AM)Filox Wrote:  What was the question? Are you asking is it wrong to CLEAN your cookies, tracking cookies from your computer, every now and then? Why would cleaning your cookies be stealing? You have a very strange view of things in your life...

My suggestion as an IT technician is to block all kind of tracking cookies to even enter in your computer, using something like Do-Not-Track add-on for Firefox. I'm not sure will it block this particular one, but do try it, if it works, you will not need to clean your computer every few minutes.

No, it is not stealing, it is protecting your privacy and your personal information. 100% legal. Ni ethic dilemma here.

Your reply is somewhat valid, but ignores the fact that it is expicitly stated that he removes the cookie to reset the counter so he can continue to not pay.

In this case he is not removing the cookie to protect his privay, this renders your reasoning moot. His motivation is clearly to obtain for free a service which the service provider can legitimatly charge for.

That being said the motivation is theft, theft is clearly immoral.

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04-08-2012, 10:12 AM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(03-08-2012 09:33 PM)Jeff Wrote:  It is unethical if your ethics include not stealing from others. The company offers content for a fee, but gives you ten free samples. They use a very rudimentary form of control (cookies) but you circumvent it by deleting the cookies and keep taking more free samples than they offered. You're clearly taking something that the other party is not willingly giving you. That's stealing.

However it's probably not illegal. Their form of control (cookies) is so rudimentary, and easily circumvented, and can even be unintentionally circumvented (e.g. a disk cleanup tool that deletes cookes) that they might not pass a reasonable protection test, especially when more robust protection schemes (eg passwords) are in common use and readily available.

If I put an apple pie on the windowsill to cool and someone takes it is that not theft? The issue is not how easy a thing is to steal, but weather theft is justifiable.

I get your not advocating theft, but just felt that your point on legality isnt right. Weather its an apple pie on a sill a car left unlocked with the keys in the ignition, its still illegal to take someelses property, even if your metaphorically asking to be robbed. At the very worst you could be done for incitememt to rob, if you left your property begging, but evem if in the unlikely case that you where the pie/car thief would gain no immunity from prosecution.

Legal Disclaimer: I am right, I reserve the right to be wrong without notice, opinions may change, your statutory rights are not affected, opinions expressed are not my own and are an approximation for the sake of communication.
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04-08-2012, 10:12 AM
RE: Do you think this is unethical?
(03-08-2012 08:10 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(03-08-2012 07:52 PM)Logica Humano Wrote:  Technically, the person is not stealing anything at all. I maintain this stance for the majority of internet piracy.

Owners of intellectual property, the law, and the courts don't agree with you.

I just finished filing a software patent. Do you honestly think it is OK for you to download a copy of my software and use it for free just because you find a way to do so? Or download and use my copyrighted photographs?

I am saying that in technicality, you are not stealing anything. You are not robbing anything from anyone.

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