Infringing Software Property Rights: Ontological, Methodological, and Ethical Questions

Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):283-308 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper contributes to the computer ethics debate on software ownership protection by examining the ontological, methodological, and ethical problems related to property right infringement that should come prior to any legal discussion. The ontological problem consists in determining precisely what it is for a computer program to be a copy of another one, a largely neglected problem in computer ethics. The methodological problem is defined as the difficulty of deciding whether a given software system is a copy of another system. And the ethical problem corresponds to establishing when a copy constitutes, or does not constitute, a property right infringement. The ontological problem is solved on the logical analysis of abstract machines, and the latter are argued to be the appropriate level of abstraction for software at which the methodological and the ethical problems can be successfully addressed.

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Giuseppe Primiero
Università degli Studi di Milano

Citations of this work

How to Explain Miscomputation.Chris Tucker - 2018 - Philosophers' Imprint 18:1-17.

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References found in this work

The method of levels of abstraction.Luciano Floridi - 2008 - Minds and Machines 18 (3):303–329.
Second treatise on government.John Locke - 1690/1980 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.
What an Algorithm Is.Robin K. Hill - 2016 - Philosophy and Technology 29 (1):35-59.

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