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Case V: Proprietary Resources
In this case, we consider the issue of access to proprietary or restricted resources. Like the previous one, this case involves access to software. The focus of this case is the rights of a software developer in contrast with the rights of users, so this case concerns determining legitimate access rights.
Suzie owns a copy of G-Whiz, a proprietary software package she purchased legitimately. The software is copyrighted, and the documentation contains a license agreement that says that the software is for use by the purchaser only. Suzie invites Luis to look at the software to see if it will fit his needs. Luis goes to Suzie's computer and she demonstrates the software to him. He says he likes what he sees, but he would like to try it in a longer test.
Extensions to the Case
So far the actions have all been ethically sound. The next steps are where ethical responsibilities arise. Take each of the following steps as independent; that is, do not assume that any of the other steps has occurred in your analysis of one step.
Suzie offers to copy the disk for Luis to use.
Suzie copies the disk for Luis to use, and Luis uses it for some period of time.
Suzie copies the disk for Luis to use; Luis uses it for some period of time and then buys a copy for himself.
Suzie copies the disk for Luis to try out overnight, under the restriction that he must bring the disk back to her tomorrow and must not copy it for himself. Luis does so.
Suzie copies the disk with the same restrictions, but Luis makes a copy for himself before returning it to Suzie.
Suzie copies the disk with the same restrictions, and Luis makes a copy for himself, but he then purchases a copy.
Suzie copies the disk with the same restrictions, but Luis does not return it.
For each of these extensions, describe who is affected, which ethical issues are involved, and which principles override which others.
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