Friday, June 01, 2007
software piracy on a legacy product - what is the halacha?
My son asked if it is permitted to copy a computer game which is no longer made by the company. I explained that geneiva usually refers to a physical object and not intellectual property, and that issues like these usually fall under the rubric of hasagas gevul or yoreid l'toch umnaso shel chaveiro because of the profit denied to the company. The question here arises because the game is no longer made (same issue would come up if the company was out of business) and sold by the manufacturer. Copying the legacy game provides a benefit to the user with no profit loss to the company no longer distributing it. I have not gone through the sugya of intellectual property issues and halacha thoroughly, but the sevara here seems pretty strong. Any thoughts?