Deliberate, Principled, Self-Interested Lawbreaking: The Ethics of Digital ‘Piracy’

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming

37 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2018

Date Written: December 16, 2017

Abstract

Is digital piracy – understood as illegally accessing or using copyrighted works, such as through a file-sharing platform – morally wrong? Such piracy typically falls into the intriguing category of self-interested lawbreaking, performed deliberately and in the context of a principled disagreement with the law. Existing treatments of the ethics of piracy fail to consider the full sweep of moral considerations implicated by such lawbreaking, collapsing the question into deceptively narrow enquiries. I argue there are many reasons, some stemming from quite surprising sources, for respecting copyright law, even for those who: think the law is unjust; are skeptical of the law’s democratic legitimacy; and are frustrated at the immoral behavior of large corporate content-providers.

Keywords: Copyright, Lawbreaking, Piracy, Intellectual Property, Rule of Law, Principle of Fairness

Suggested Citation

Breakey, Hugh E, Deliberate, Principled, Self-Interested Lawbreaking: The Ethics of Digital ‘Piracy’ (December 16, 2017). Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3219550 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3219550

Hugh E Breakey (Contact Author)

Griffith University ( email )

170 Kessels Road
Nathan, Queensland QLD 4111
Australia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
255
PlumX Metrics