An Exploration of the Ideologies of Software Intellectual Property: The Impact on Ethical Decision Making

Journal of Business Ethics 73 (4):409-424 (2007)

This article helps to clarify and articulate the ideological, legal, and ethical attitudes regarding software as intellectual property (IP). Computer software can be viewed as IP from both ethical and legal perspectives. The size and growth of the software industry suggest that large profits are possible through the development and sale of software. The rapid growth of the open source movement, fueled by the development of the Linux operating system, suggests another model is possible. The large number of unauthorized copies of software programs suggests that many people do not believe in laws regarding software copyright. There are many and varied views of software as IP, even within the information systems (IS) profession. In this article, four distinct subgroups of IS professionals are identified. The article describes the four subgroups and their respective ideological views on software ownership; it explores the subgroups' attitudes regarding software laws; and finally, it explains the ethical positions embraced by each subgroup
Keywords computer ethics  copyright  free software  intellectual property  software  open source advocate
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-006-9215-1
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The Cathedral and the Bazaar.Eric Raymond - 1999 - Knowledge, Technology & Policy 12 (3):23-49.

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