Is Copy Protection Cracking Ethical? Essay

Is Copy Protection Cracking Ethical? Essay

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Is Copy Protection Cracking Ethical?


There are many types of hackers in the world. One group of hackers focuses on breaking copy protection schemes. Copy protection schemes prevent the illegal copying of software, music, etc. By cracking these schemes, people are then able to use and copy the item without the copy protection preventing or hindering their use. This process is commonly known as cracking and the hackers involved in the process are known as crackers. Cracking is commonly viewed as an illegal act in many countries as it is typically used to steal copies of the copyrighted item. However, there are benefits to cracking. It can remove the inconveniences the copy protection scheme imposes on users and in some cases allow users to work around incompatibilities with the copy protection. So the question comes down to, is it ethical for someone to crack copy protection schemes?

What is Copy Protection?

Copy protection comes in many forms. Its primary purpose is to prevent a person from making a perfect copy of the original. Since the creation of CD burners this technology allows copyright owners to prevent someone from making copies of their intellectual property and either giving them away for free or selling them at a cheaper price without paying royalties to the copyright owner.

One type of protection is used on software products. This protection comes in two pieces. The first piece prevents a user from copying the CD. This is usually done by having a portion of the CD unreadable by CD drives. The second portion of the protection requires that the user insert the CD in the drive in order to use the application. This check involves validating the CD as an original CD which would include look...

... middle of paper ...

...f the property then it is unethical.


Stanford University, Stanford Copyright & Fair Use, 2003

US Copyright Office, Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 Summary, December 1998

World Intellectual Property Organization, The Collection of Laws for Electronic Access,

Business Software Alliance, Global Piracy Study, 2002

Game Copy World, 2004

Business Software Alliance, BSA Logo, 2004

SecuROM, 2004

SafeDisc, 2004

Harvard Law School, DeCSS FAQ, 2000

Wired News, DVD-Cracking Teen Acquitted, January 2003,1283,57107,00.html

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