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Ethics in a Computing Culture

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Angelo Calupaz

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Ethics in a Computing Culture

Case 2: Virtual Investment Fraud
Case 1: Sony-BMG Antipiracy Rootkit
Capcom rereleased a game called “Okami” for Nintendo Wii, they wanted to use the same cover art that they used on the original version of the game. Rather than finding and reusing the original art, they just downloaded a photograph art from the Internet. The site they downloaded the art from IGN, had placed a watermark containing IGN logo in the image. No one in Capcom notice the watermark.
Linden sent Bragg an email advising him that Taessot had been improperly purchased through an exploit. Linden took Taessot away. And froze Bragg’s account confiscating all of the virtual property and currency that he maintained on his account with “Second Life”
According to Bragg, the virtual goods and virtual currency confiscated by Linden Lab were worth between $4000 and $6000 in real US dollars
Patent Law
- inventions
- not previously been invented
Non obviousness
- solution to a problem that is obvious to another specialist
Patent Law
" If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it." - Thomas Jefferson, 1813
Intellectual Property Law in the United States
Investment fraud schemes are common in massive multiplayer online games such as Second Life or EVE Online. These games have some for of virtual currency
In 2005, in an effort to stop music piracy, Sony BMG started using a copyright protection on its CD. The CD will work normally when inserted to a CD Player, but when inserted on a computer it will install a software where you could see extra contents and pictures about the artist where it will also install a rootkit.
Ethics in a Computing Culture
Mr. Bragg is a lawyer from Pennsylvania who participated in the popular online world called “Second Life.” Mr. Bragg became involved in a dispute with Linden Lab the company that runs “Second Life” and apparently as a result of the dispute, Linden Lab terminated Bragg’s Lab account. Bragg then sued Linden Lab. The dispute was when Mr. Bragg acquired a parcel of virtual land named ”Taessot” for $300.
Complications Surrounding Intangible Property
Chapter 3
Intellectual and Intangible Property
What a rootkit does:
Get an administrator access to the computer, even if the person playing the CD did not have administrator privileges
It modified the operating system to place limits on how the CD's contents could be copied or used
It used a technology called cloaking to make it hard to tell whether or not the user's computer had the software installed
Let's hear about the case of Cally...
Intellectual Property Law in the United States
The purpose of intellectual property law is to make sure that people with good ideas can profit from those ideas, even after the idea is known to everyone.
- art, music and writing. (authorship in music, drama, pantomime, graphi art, sculpture, motion pictures, sound recordings, and architecture.) excludes dance choreography if it is not in tangible form.
Four main rights of the author
The right to reproduce the copyrighted work
The right to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work
The right to distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
The right to perform or display the copyrighted work publicly
Fair Use
The fair use of a copyrighted work... for the purposes such as criticism, comment, new reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
Factors of fair use
The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
The nature of the copyrighted work;
The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Doctrine of first sale
- as long as no new copy is made
Eroding far use and first sale
- instead of tangible material you receive a file (intangible material)
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
Comparing Plagiarism to Copyright Violation
- plagiarism
Sharing vs selling

No Electronic Theft
Peer to peer sharing and searching
Infringement claim (torrents)
Peer to peer sharing and searching
Contributory Infringement - another person w/o your help
Vicarious infringement - under your supervision
Copyright Duration
Copyright act of:
1970 - 28 yrs - default of 14 and renewable for another 14
1831 - 42 yrs - default 28 and renewable 14
1909 - 56 yrs - default 28 and renewable 28
1976 - 110 yrs - lifetime plus 50 yrs
Copyright term extension act of 1998 - 130 yrs - lifetime plus 70 yrs
orphaned work - no owner but still copyrighted
- legally registered word, phrase, symbol, or other item that identifies a particular product. (TM)
Trade secrets
a secret or
nondisclosure agreement
Virtual goods
items of property that are rivalrous, non tangible, not services, and which rely on some system for their existence
Case Study: Bragg vs Linden Lab (Virtual Property)
Complications Surrounding Intangible Property
Case Study: Bragg vs Linden Lab (Virtual Property)
Does Linden Lab has the right to terminate Mr. Bragg's account?
Linden Lab has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to suspend or terminate Mr. Bragg’s account. Terminate this Agreement and/or refuse any and all current or future use of the Service without notice or liability to you. In the event that Linden Lab suspends or terminates your Account or this Agreement, you understand and agree that you shall receive no refund or exchange for any unused time on a subscription, any license or subscription fees, any content or data associated with your Account, or for everything else.
Complications Surrounding Intangible Property
Case Study: Reusing Images Found on the Internet
Does Capcom have the right to use the image?
Case Study: Reusing Images Found on the Internet
The blog youthoughtwewouldnotnotice chronicles instances of plagiarism. In one typical case, a 19-year old American photographer who posted her work on the social networking site deviantART discovered her self-portrait on T-shirt being sold across Eastern Europe
Is this an act of plagiarism?
PlayforSure, a digital media standard created by Microsoft contains many features, one of which is a DRM system meant to prevent unauthorized copying of digital music files.

On April 22, 2008 Microsoft informed MSN Music Store customers that it would be turning off the key servers on August 31, 2008. After that date, it would not be possible to reauthorize a music file. This means that while files would continue to play on the owner’s current computer they would not be usable if the owner:
1. upgraded or reinstalled their operating system or
2. got new computers
Case Study: PlayForSure
Does Microsoft have the right to prevent MSN Music Store customer from listening to purchased music?
It depends
Response from customers and antiDRM advocates was immediate and vocal. Microsoft quickly reversed its decision, announcing that the MSN Music Store key servers would continue to operate at least the end of 2011.
Case Study: DeCSS
DeCSS is a program that removes the copy protection from DVDs. DeCSS made such copying possible and also allowed people to watch DVDs on open-source operating system. Eric Corley went to prison for sharing DeCSS thorough his Website and encouraging people to use it to violate copyright.
Is the court’s decision to sentence Corley to prison fair?
It depends
Intellectual Property Protection For Software
Copyright and Trademark Protection for Software
Copyright is used to protect the parts of a computer program that are works of creative authorship.
- The source code of a computer program is a creative work of authorship and is copyrighted. (Note that certain very short snippets of code may not be copyrighted for the same reason that very short phrases cannot be copyrighted.
- The look and feel of a game as a whole can be copyrighted.
(Example case: Atari v. North American Philips (infringement on Atari's copyright of Pac-Man, but trademark law is used to protect "look and feel," not copyright)
Atari's Pac-Man
Philip's K.C. Munchkin
Patents for Software
The Amazon 1-Click Patent and the Nonobviousness test
- Traditional mode of online shopping (add items to a virtual shopping cart, pays the item(s) via check out process,and then users enters payment and shipping information)
- Amazon's 1-Click (customer's payment details and shipping details are prespecified to the customer's account, then the customer can just click on the "Buy now with 1-Click")
- On Sept. 28, 1999, the U.S. Patent Office issued Amazon a patent for this invention.
- Prevented Barnes and Noble from using a 1-Click ordering system
- Apple Inc. subsequently licensed the patent from Amazon
Was this idea sufficiently nonobvious to be considered an invention?
Nonobviousness Test
- first main criticism of software patents
- U.S. Patent Office is not competent
- Awards patents for things that are not truly "inventions"
- developing new and innovative software difficult
The Patentability of Algorithms
Algorithm - a mathematically precise set of steps for computing something.
Some algorithms seem like genuine inventions like Google's search algorithm, being so superior quickly made google a dominant company in Web searching.
Google used PageRank algorithm (patented)
PageRank can be viewed as a basic mathematical fact, simple to right down and can be found on Wikipedia, yet was not simple to discover
Larry Page - invented PageRank
One of the major controversies surrounding software patents has to do with the question of whether or not a patent can be used to protect an algorithm
The Creative Commons
In many societies there are a great many resources that are not owned by any one person - fish in a public stream, grass on public land, a picnic table in a public park, and so on. These resources, which are held jointly by everyone, are sometimes called THE COMMONS
According to Lessig
- current copyright law allows very little material to enter the creative commons. Because the term copyright is effectively 100 years or more, today's creative works will not enter the commons for three or four generations.
- Lessig, along with renowned computer scientist Hal Abelson and others founded an organization called Creative Commons. Creative Commons is devoted to helping people release their creative work into the creative commons.
- Commons licenses allow items to be reused for commercial purposes, while others do not.
- Popular media-sharing Web sites, like Flickr, YouTube, Google's Picasa, blip.tv, and Wikimedia Commons, allow users to set the license terms of their content using the Creative Commons licenses.
Region-Coding for video discs
It prevent users from playing DVDs from other parts of the world
For example, an American DVD is classified as a Region 1 DVD, and since Japan is in Region 2, DVD players there can't play the Region 1 DVD.
Price Discrimination
Price Discrimination
a practice where different people are being charged different prices for the same product
for example, a DVD being sold at Amazon in China costs around 20 yuan or $2.95 while the same DVD being sold at Amazon US costs $20

The Pirate Bay

a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol that facilitates transmisson of very large files but it requires a seperate index site to search for torrent files
the most popular index site for searching torrents
Swedish for "Pirate Party"
3 main issues: protection of privacy, copy reform, reduction of patents and private monopolies
L.J. Comrie
a famous compiler of mathematical tables
one time, he wrote a book that contained errors and suggested those to be left intentionally to prove plagiarism
Digital Watermarking
Plagiarism, The Web, and Writing
Philosophical foundations of intangible property law
1. Intellectual property: the consequentialist argument
based on the idea that giving authors the exclusive possession or control will increase the happiness of the nation
in favor of intellectual property
basis for the US Constitution's language about inventions and useful art

Problem: Linux OS
Open source software product
2. intangible property: the deontological argument

discusses who has the right to intellectual property
What if you do not own the medium used to create virtual property?
Full transcript