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Moral Ethics on Downloading Pirated Material

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By chitneni
Words 799
Pages 4
The Morality of Downloading Copyrighted Entertainment

With the expansion of the Internet in the past twenty years, information has become less exclusive to the general population; previously inaccessible information was now fingertips away. It resulted in benefit for a society as a whole, until people whose profession depended on the information being exclusive, now had it being distributed for free. The professions primarily affected were actors, artists, and authors. They all shared a thing in common: copyrighted material. The act of downloading or sharing copyrighted material has been deemed illegal by the United States, yet most people obtain copyrighted material through this manner. This paper focuses on the morality of illegal downloading through the various utilitarians’ perspectives. The findings of the paper will show that the act utilitarians would find illegal downloading to be morally right, while rule utilitarians would find it morally wrong.

Utilitarian theory states that, “an act is morally right only if the act’s consequences do not produce an amount of wellbeing or pleasure worse than the consequences of every alternative act.” The aforementioned consequences are not only intended for the individual who takes the action, but also everyone possibly affected directly or indirectly by them. However, the theory has been further broken down into specificities, two of them being act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism.

Act utilitarians believe regardless of the act, as long as the act ensures the best overall consequences, that specific act is permissible and makes for it to be morally right. Therefore, the specific act in one instance could be morally acceptable and right, while it could be morally unacceptable and wrong in a completely different situation. The second utilitarian mentioned was the rule utilitarian. Rule utilitarians, as...

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