Ethics Among Peers: From Napster to Peppermint, and Beyond
The aim of this paper is to analyse some ethical issues concerning the development of P2P systems. Some scholars consider them to be the key to a new social paradigm, others express alarm about how these systems undermine crucial elements of our societies. The result is often the ban of P2P technologies, like those on some campuses in the U.S. where Capitol Hill still debates on whether to impose more. Hence, by stressing why there is “ethics among peers,” the idea is to strike a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the principle of openness, so that threats arising from P2P systems should not be a pretext to limit freedom of speech, research, or “the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community,” according to the phrasing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
KeywordsPrecautionary Principle Universal Declaration Cultural Life Copyright Infringement Digital Piracy
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