Thursday, October 14

the horns of a dilemma

Does a manufacturer of guns get sued when someone turns an assault weapon on a crowd? Heck, do landmine makers get arrested when innocent victims are maimed or killed with their products ? Not that I know of. Well, the reaction on the Net to this guy implies that they should.

P2P clients, the argument goes, can be used for the download of legitimate software offerings. The fact that Kazaa, Emule and other clients are rarely used for this purpose means nothing. Similarly, Ben Kittridge wrote a mass mailer that could have no legitimate use. And someone used it to perpetrate a fraud. But he's in trouble for it. And because it's a spammer's tool, people on Slashdot are applauding.

On a related note, it's interesting to wonder how many people would choose to break the law if their job required it. Or worse, if there were just hints (just like the ones that lead to the assasination of Thomas Becket) that a slightly less than legal solution is the only way to finish the project/get ahead of the competitors/keep the customer happy etc. Would you break the law if it meant a competitive advantage and kudos at work ? More money ? A raise ? A promotion ? I don't mean murder or anything drastic; but how about a copyright violation ? or a misrepresentation of a product or project ? I've had to make a decision more than once in my career so far. Not by any means is it a straightforward choice.


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