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Old 02-25-2007, 10:38 PM   #1
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Cruisers have always swapped information, charts, pilot books, recipes; indeed anything which can make a new friend's cruise a little more pleasant. In many cases those charts, passages from books and recipes are photocopied and distributed freely for no more cost than a shared bottle of 'red'.

Giving away things and information which have no apparent associated cost is one way in which we as cruisers develop the lifestyle bonds that we all appreciate.

Recently I gave a fellow traveller some books including out of date copies of Cornell's great cruising volumes. I asked nothing in return, but a few days later he arrived bearing 'gifts'. I was pesented with a collection of CD's containing operating software and world charts for two separate and highly regarded electronic charting systems. I estimate the cost of buying the same information legitimately would be in excess of $30,000!

He had previously asked me if I have similar computer programmes. I do not, but I do have a 12" Interphase plotter and I buy CMap Maxwide charts as I need them.

The charts he offered me were copies of copies which he had previously been given, along with the necessary codes to run the pirated information. While I appreciate the thought, I like being able to update my charts through CMap, before heading off into new waters so I am happy to continue to deal lawfully.

I wonder at the morality of 'donating' electronic charts. Is giving away someone's recipe, or copying a paper chart any different than copying and 'donating' a charting system? Is it plagiarism or theft? Is it acceptable within a community of cruisers who want to leave only a positive impact?

And, what of insurance? If you prang your boat whilst operating without recognised, current and official charts of the area in which you are operating, the insurance company may have the right to deny your claim. Charts which at some stage in their lives were stolen and which cannot be updated surely fall into this category.

I accepted the gift in the spirit in which it was given, but the CD's now contain my favourite music which, ironically, I am always happy to copy for a fellow cruiser. So am a just a hypocrite, or a pirate as well?

Is there a point where morality and economics supercede, and adopt each other's characteristics?

A stolen anchor which is then given away will secure a boat, but it always remains a stolen anchor.

Should we worry about this or should we just shut up and have another beer?

David
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:18 AM   #2
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David,

I applaud your integrity. Frankly, you faced a great temptation--unless you are rich enough not to care!

I remember once being told by someone that they'd received many thousand dollars in a questionable transaction and, just for a moment, I felt the nudging of greed/envy because I was in a particularly difficult place financially at that time. I pushed it aside, relegating it to the place all those nudgings belong, but I could see how the temptor might get to someone with fewer scruples: Oh, they've plenty, they won't miss the income or the royalties or the whatever. Or, that's big business, we're the little people. We need to help each other out. As a writer, I hope no one pirates my work. If I were a musician, I'd feel the same.

I took a look at the cost of all the paper charts we've yet to buy for a circumnavigation to augment the ones we already have (thank God for the folks who do those 2/3-sized charts for a pittance less--it'll still cost a bundle). Add the C-Map charts to go with those, and we'll be eating beans for months. How tempting would it be if someone dropped off pirated charts? Very. Should I accept them? No. Now, if I could find someone who's already been there and wants to trade, that would be lovely. The only one here offering used charts wants almost as much as the folks in Bellingham.

We're to leave a clean wake. I think that means honesty and integrity in all we do.

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Normandie
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:11 AM   #3
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I took a look at the cost of all the paper charts we've yet to buy for a circumnavigation to augment the ones we already have (thank God for the folks who do those 2/3-sized charts for a pittance less--it'll still cost a bundle). Add the C-Map charts to go with those, and we'll be eating beans for months. How tempting would it be if someone dropped off pirated charts? Very. Should I accept them? No. Now, if I could find someone who's already been there and wants to trade, that would be lovely. The only one here offering used charts wants almost as much as the folks in Bellingham.

We're to leave a clean wake. I think that means honesty and integrity in all we do.

Blessings,

Normandie
Honesty and integrity. That's it. I don't know anybody who has so much money that they can afford to throw it away. However, I have yet to meet a cruiser who has so little money that he can't afford to be honest and not steal.

Sometimes when reading the various cruiser forums I am appalled at the lengths some people will go to save a few dollars. Buying pirated CDs, chartplotter chips, free WiFi connections so they can run their Vonage phone for free long distance calls. Often these are people with 40' and up sailboats with all the bells and whistles, but they can't afford to pay for their own phone calls? Or wireless connections?

There are lots of WiFi "hotspots", free wireless internet connections, but I'm talking about the less sophisticated home user who has set up a wireless network for their house and failed to set up a security lock on outside access. they might not realize why their internet connection slows down dramatically, but the person pirating their signal knows what they are doing.

Okay, that's the rant. Stealing is stealing. One thing, though. The United States paper charts do not carry a copyright. You may photocopy them with impunity. This is not necessarily the case with other country's charts, however.

And a suggestion. Don't buy all the charts you might need for a circumnavigation right away. You will find that as you travel you will find opportunities to trade charts you have for charts you need. Not to mention how many times you will change your mind as to a destination. Sometimes, however, that means you will have to photocopy charts or go without. I've even traced another cruiser's "mud maps" (small harbor/anchorage charts) when there was no possibility of obtaining them any other way. And at least once, that traced chart was a welcome resource that enabled us to find shelter from nasty weather with a blown out mainsail.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:28 AM   #4
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I would not.

The sofeware companies have gotton this problem solved. After 2 or 3 copies, all others have a virus that wipes your hard drive.

As noted before, it is illegal. If you get inspected with these onboard you can get finded or worse. Although I have not heard of this unless there is many. Having spent money traning in the Arts I know how good these people are and how much money it takes to get the good copies. If you do not want to have copywrited Legal rights live in a country that does not like China or the Middle East.
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Old 02-26-2007, 09:52 AM   #5
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I would not.

The sofeware companies have gotton this problem solved. After 2 or 3 copies, all others have a virus that wipes your hard drive.

As noted before, it is illegal. If you get inspected with these onboard you can get finded or worse. Although I have not heard of this unless there is many. Having spent money traning in the Arts I know how good these people are and how much money it takes to get the good copies. If you do not want to have copywrited Legal rights live in a country that does not like China or the Middle East.
You are correct it is illegal and should be discouraged.... as should the copying of music.

Software companies do not put viruses on disks. If they did then you would have a case for compensation against them.

The main reason not to be copying navigation software (besides it being illegal) is that you will be blocked from getting updates to your charts. This may cause you problems in future..

For your guide there are free programs out there for positioning and charting
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:39 PM   #6
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Software companies do not put viruses on disks.
I do not think so. Read the users agrement. This gives them the right and, from what I have seen and been told, it is true. Some computer programers will know better then me.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:00 PM   #7
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I think that you might be thinking about the SONY anti-copying script on their CDs that caused a security breach on the user's hard drive which had the potential to allow a virus in. Sony's fixed that problem. Before the fix, though, that alone caused SONY some hard times, can you imagine if a company deliberately inserted a virus? The class action suit would bankrupt them! More: http://news.com.com/Sony+to+patch+copy-pro..._3-5928608.html

I wouldn't be surprised, however, if somebody in the marketing department of C-Map might spread a rumor that if you copy their chips that you'll lose your hard drive. If I were trying to keep people from copying my electronic work, and I were malicious enough, that's what I would do.

And then there are the kids who spread hoaxes to attack a particular web site by overwhelming it with traffic. "Pass this on to everyone you know before they lose their hard drive".

There are plenty of web sites debunking hoaxes and spoofs, and I always go to them before I even consider passing on one of these warnings.
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:13 PM   #8
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I guess it might be easier to be tempted if one was on a low budget but basically I believe (or hope) most cruisers are honest / law abiding and whilst one might stretch some points sometimes - not go all out copying stuff that belongs to other people and definitly not accepting hard stuff thats been stolen.

However, I do think there is enough redundant stuff within the marine sector as a whole, for someone to create a web based swop mart so more trading could occur. I'd like to think we'd have plenty of stuff we could put out to a good new home - in exchange for secondhand stuff we'd be happy to accept as opposed to buying new.

Cheers

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Old 02-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #9
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I do not think so. Read the users agrement. This gives them the right and, from what I have seen and been told, it is true. Some computer programers will know better then me.
The only thing they are allowed to do is disable their software if they find that it has been installed on more than one computer. This is like windows XP that needs to be registered online with Microsoft. Basically XP will not be registered if you use the same code more than a few times (it alows this because you do get system crashes.).

Any other software cannot detect how many times it has been installed due to the fact that CD Roms are completely dumb. Unless this software talks to a central database then anyone can install it and use it as long as they have the code.

Now with the Charts this is possible as you will need at somepoint to upgrade them and at that point the serial numbers can be checked.

The last company to release software with a virus was Borland and that was a mistake.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:15 PM   #10
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And a suggestion. Don't buy all the charts you might need for a circumnavigation right away. You will find that as you travel you will find opportunities to trade charts you have for charts you need. Not to mention how many times you will change your mind as to a destination. Sometimes, however, that means you will have to photocopy charts or go without. I've even traced another cruiser's "mud maps" (small harbor/anchorage charts) when there was no possibility of obtaining them any other way. And at least once, that traced chart was a welcome resource that enabled us to find shelter from nasty weather with a blown out mainsail.
Jeanne, we couldn't buy them even if we wanted to! I merely looked at the cost because a fellow down the way who sold us some country flags offered his for sale. (Frankly, the flag purchase was a gift to him on our part, but the poor fellow has physical problems and I didn't want to quibble. Maybe he needed the money for treatments--but you can imagine the shape of the used flags. "Oh, sorry, I thought I'd taken out the frayed and tattered ones.") It was a curiousity factor for me--his price for old, used charts would have broken the bank nearly as fast as Bellingham's. We have plenty of large and small scale charts for the West Coast and Central America which we inherited with Sea Venture (and wasn't it fun backtracking places she'd been before!) and will hope to purchase or trade for others as we go along. C-Map is a different situation, but we'll have to do that piecemeal as well. Still, it's amazing what things cost, and hanging out in Mexico again is beginning to sound like a lovely, frugal thing to do while we save for the next set of charts!

As for those folks "borrowing" someone's WiFi--we joined with another boat to use a third cruiser's system--all of us chipping in to defray his costs. Only, after about a month of that, watching ours slow or drop connection when the bigger boat tuned in became too frustrating. We got our own. So, I wonder about those piping in to someone's illegally. I can't imagine it would be much fun for any of them--esp. the poor fellow who couldn't figure out why his signal dropped.

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Old 02-27-2007, 03:34 AM   #11
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For years people purchased records and made copies on cassette tapes for personal use. Many, many people borrowed each others records and made cassette tape copies and no one made a big deal about it. Then CD's came along and in the beginning copying a CD was prohibitively expensive. Progress brought, as progress does, a cheap and quick way to copy CD's. Then someone thought up file sharing via the internet. The courts have ruled that file sharing is illegal. I fail to see the difference between making a cassette copy of a record and downloading a music track, or anything else for that matter. As long as the content provider is not charging money and you the downloader is not paying for it. Isn't this the same thing as making a copy of a friends record? Only now your "friend" can be anyone in the world, is that the distinction that somehow makes this now immoral and illegal?

Regarding pirated software. I wouldn't pay for it simply because I would question the quality of the copy. Now if someone was to give me a copy of software, again I don't really see a problem there. I know from the start that its a copy and I understand that I am not entitled to software support, updates, manuals, etc. I feel the same way about copied paper charts. They are copied. I don't trust them absolutely. If copying is bad then is borrowing okay? Its almost the same thing if you borrow materials and use them. Some pretty fine hairs to split here. I'd rather talk about sailing.

Stealing wifi is stealing. Someone is paying for an ongoing and current service.

To me this is much ado about nothing. Can you get in trouble for having copied charts and software on board? Maybe. I would think if you had multiple copies and it looked like you might be selling it then certainly. I highly doubt any authority is going to bother you for having copied charting software. I asked my buddy whose a career man in the USCG and running boarding parties. He laughed pretty hard about that one. RT
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Old 02-27-2007, 05:28 AM   #12
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For years people purchased records and made copies on cassette tapes for personal use. Many, many people borrowed each others records and made cassette tape copies and no one made a big deal about it.............Some pretty fine hairs to split here. I'd rather talk about sailing.

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Agreed sailing is what the site is all about, but the question was a moral one related to sailors copying stuff someone else had spent maybe years producing, and forgetting the illegalities / copyright issues, if it were you who had produced it and it was your income source - I guess you'd feel different.

Today is not like yesterday, where any copy (record to tape / photocopy) was poor. As you've said - that put people off and helped retain the ownership (and therefore income stream) with the author. With low computer power and a good printer, today one can copy almost anything, and the copied quality is almost good enough not to be recognised.

Rod Heinkel who spends most of his life sailing to keep his pilot books updated reminds each of his readers that he can only afford to do this as his pilot books get sold. If he sells less as a result of copying, he'd stop.

And I'd not get the pilot books I want.

That would effect my sailing - and for what it is worth - I think its morally wrong.

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Old 02-27-2007, 05:55 AM   #13
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Auzze,

I to appreciate your integrity. This topic is not unique to people with boats.

In our hearts we know right from wrong. Live within the laws. Live in peace with your higher power, fellow man and yourself.

Some of the responses lean to each extreme. Some are smart advice, some questionable, some are wrong. There is one in particular that speaks with much authority and is plain flat wrong. I won't mention which, because I don't want to start a flaming war here. Use your better judgement and you will figure it out.

I do not think there is anything wrong with giving away or accepting copyrighted anything. At one time it was bought and paid for by somebody and the copyright holder received payment. The library buys a book one time, many read it, yet the author gets paid one time per each copy. We buy a music CD and listen to it many times, sometimes with others present. We buy a DVD Movie, one time, and one person or a whole crew watches it. Used books, CD's, DVD's, video games, and works of art, are bought and sold openly and legally over and over again in stores, at public auction on the internet, and even in the Colleges and Universities Book Store. It doesn't matter.

On the other hand, out right pirating is buying one copy of literary works and mass producing hundreds or thousands of copies, and selling them at a profit. That is illegal, and really hurts the people and companies that created it and own the rights to it.

Using an open channel on WiFi - Wow. I never even though of that as pirating, nor do I now. I have my home wireless router set up in an open mode. If somebody happens to need access to the internet, they are most welcome. It has happned to me a few times on the road, when I badly needed access to information, an address, a phone number, needed to check or send an e-mail; I was so thankful that I found a router, a portal to the internet, accessable to the public. I liken it to somebody needing a drink of water, or asking for directions; Glad I could Help Somebody in Need! Maybe I live in another world, but we have one progressive (fair size) city here that wants to make the whole city wireless. Most of it is complete. They have the boxes with antennaes on the street light arms now.
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Old 02-27-2007, 10:25 AM   #14
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Wow interesting theories there... Just because a lot of people do something doesnt make it right its like speeding on the roads lots of people do it but it is still wrong.

The fact is that copying coptright material and then giving it away is illegal.. You are in all likely hood not going to get prosecuted over a couple of CD's but you may do so over some software. Microsoft for example have prosecuted individuals.

Just for the record I work in the computer industry and regularly have to show that the software in my control is legal.

I also think that the laws need to be changed for the digital age as they were written a long time ago.
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