Theft of software
Write a report which expands on the case by describing the ethical issues, if any, raised by the case you have chosen. Do not omit any legal requirements. These are only brief outlines. You should research (and include references) your chosen case looking, in particular, for project management issues on which you can comment from an ethical point of view.
In particular you should explain which, if any, ethical principles might help prevent any recurrence of this sort of event. Your report may cover technical matters where necessary but the marks will be awarded for coverage of ethical issues.
CASE – Theft of Software
Primal Pictures is a London-based company producing software that provides an accurate 3D model of human anatomy. This software is used in medical training for patient, practitioners and students in over twenty countries across the globe. Unfortunately Primal Pictures faces at least two threats to protecting its intellectual property (IP). DVDs can be illegally copied and resold as fake merchandise. Also online peer-to-peer torrent download sites permit the sharing of pirated versions of the software.
Primal Pictures contacted the Federation against software theft (FAST) who instigated a project that sought to disrupt illegal postings and the distribution of pirated products online throughout 2010 and 2011. It is not always clear that torrent sites are responsible for the pirated material on their sites. Often they do not host the illegal copies, but act merely as an open forum or provide links to illicit copies. This activity perpetuates the exchange of material free of charge when it should be paid for. FAST were able to target those online retailers who it was possible legally to prove they had committed fraud and who could therefore be closed down.
In 2010 and 2011 63 listings were removed from Google, and 41 forum postings were tackled, plus a host of images containing infringing representations of the Primal product. However, subsequent legal action has proved difficult. A law firm active in anti-piracy in Britain, ACS Law, was targeted by hackers and subsequently ceased trading. A letter-writing campaign claiming that many of the people facing prosecution are vulnerable or lack funds has resulted in a backlog. There is also a general unwillingness of the legal system to prosecute when an offence is traced to an IP address (ie a specific computer) rather than an individual.