Which is the earliest scenario that is not morally OK?

Posted 3 years.

1 Comment

  • Gustavo Chaves - 3 years ago

    Hi. Thanks for the exercise in applied Ethics. It was entertaining and thought provoking.

    I voted for Q7 as the earliest scenario which is not morally OK for me. I figure that since I decided to buy the CDs I have a duty to obey the underlying "contract" of the commercial transaction. Now that I'm thinking about it it downs on me that I've never read such contract, so that I'm only conjecturing about its exact rules. I may be wrong, but I think it forbids making copies and giving them away, or keeping them for myself after giving away the original CDs.

    Of course giving the CDs to Oxfam is a good thing in and as of itself, but to be a fully ethical action it should not depend on me doing a wrong thing, specially if I'm benefiting from it myself.

    One could even stretch the example a little by saying that instead of keeping the copies to myself I could make more copies and donate them all to different humanitarian organizations. That way I wouldn't be benefiting myself, which I think would make it less wrong, but it would still be infringing the commercial contract of my buying the CDs, to which I had agreed.

    In the extreme, I think a truly ethical person would either buy the CDs for donation or refrain from buying them in the first place because she cannot accept the buying contract terms that prevents her from doing good. This second position I think is essentially the position of Richard Stallman regarding non-free software. You should not engage in a contract which terms may prevent you from doing good things, such as donating for good causes. In this situation you should buy only CDs unencumbered with such restrictions or produce your own CDs, by recording your own music, so that you are free to give them away as you please.

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