Computer Ethics, Summer 2019, Class 3

Class 3 Readings

You should 

News items:

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay is still going strong:

And it's still at, though you may need an alternative DNS resolver to see it.

EU study finds piracy doesn't hurt game sales, may actually help

The "displacement" rate is the reduction in licensed viewing corresponding to pirated viewing. A rate of 40% means that viewers watching 10 pirated movies would watch 4 fewer licensed movies. A rate of 100% means that infringement displaces licensed viewing completely.

For movies, the displacement rate found was just under 30%, consistent with other studies finding it was just over 30%.

Somewhat surprisingly, the study found the displacement rate for games went the other direction. Pirating a game led to an increased likelihood of paying for it. This is believed to correspond to in-game sales of various forms.

Something Borrowed

The title is from a 2004 article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker: Bryony Lavery wrote a play Frozen, including a character Agnetha Gottmundsdottir who is a psychiatrist who studies serial killers. A fair number of Gottmundsdottir's character details were taken from the life of psychologist Dorothy Lewis, and in particular from her book Guilty by Reason of Insanity. Here are a few similarities:

One of the things that upset Lewis the most, however, was that, in the play, Gottmundsdottir has an affair with her collaborator. Lewis feared that people would assume she had also had an affair with her real-life collaborator.

Did Lavery do something wrong? Is this plagiarism? Is it copyright infringement? Is it something else? Lewis said that she "felt robbed and violated in some peculiar way. It was as if someone had stolen—I don’t believe in the soul, but, if there was such a thing, it was as if someone had stolen my essence."

In addition to re-using incidents in Lewis' book, Lavery also copied -- verbatim -- some quotations by Lewis which appeared in Gladwell's 1997 interview with her. In an earlier article about Lewis, Gladwell quoted her as saying the following two things:

I just don’t believe people are born evil — To my mind, that is mindless. Forensic psychiatrists tend to buy into the notion of evil. I felt that that’s no explanation. The deed itself is bizarre, grotesque. But it’s not evil. To my mind, evil bespeaks conscious control over something. Serial murderers are not in that category. They are driven by forces beyond their control.

The difference between a crime of evil and a crime of illness is the difference between a sin and a symptom.

The first appears in Lavery's play, with one extra word added. The second appears twice. While reusing these quotations without citation is questionable, to say the least, it doesn't seem that this was Lewis' primary objection.

Begin with RIAA-2