This is a case where I'd absolutely apply to the spirit of the ethical
thinking behind the initial law, not the law itself.
To give a symple example of this sort of thinking, ---- one in fact from
Mary Warnock's book on ethics (herself both an ethicist and member of the
house of lords), imagine a law banning all vehicles from a park.
Following this law strictly, this would not only count cars and trucks, but
also vehicles such as bicycles and skateboards.
Someone could reasonably argue that the spirit of the law, ---- allowing
people to enjoy a public park without fear of being run over or disturbence
from motor noise, is not being violated by the use of a skateboard.
In this symple case the law can just be changed appropriately, --- -but in
the case of copywrite law as you've said yourself, the case isn't that
My own thinking on this subject is that copywrite law is to A, prevent
plagerism or taking of creddit for someone else's work, and B, allow a
commercial enterprise to receive some sort of payment for the creative
service of providing said copywrited material (often imho this gets extreme
with large corperations and hollywood, but that's another debate entirely).
Obviously here we're mostly concerned with option B.
My thinking is that a company or individual cannot claime any legitimate
loss of prophit and/or due creddit where they themselves do not seak to
While there are cases, --- such as when I tried to buy a dvd of the Lion
King this Christmas to find it utterly unavailable sinse a remastered
version is in the works, where a creative project may be unavailable for a
comparatively short time, in these casis the company has a vested interest
in stating that the creative project will be available.
In casis such as infocom, old games and out of print books however, this
arguement does not apply.
Of course there has to be a reasonable delaybbefore things become public
domain, ---- in the publishing industry for example it ranges from country
to country to anything betwene 30 and 50 years after the author's death,
however in these days of fast communication and easy distribution, it
strikes me the delay should be much shorter.
This is why i've frequently donated to things like project.aon and some of
my favourite websites,while at the same time I freely admit I have quite a
bit of copywrited material kicking around.
Btw, Applied to disability, there is also the huge mire of access. For the
past 20 years, copywrite law and the greed of the publication industry who
may or may not wish to release overpriced audio versions of books has played
a massive part in unavailability of audio in the Uk.
While the situation is slowly improving, it's a long long loooong! way
behind what it is in the states.
Accessible computer games I'd view in a similar light I think. Afterall,
it's not as if we can all go out and make money for activision's successors
by buying their latest games.
Beware the Grue!
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