January 25, 2015
IFSM 304 5125: Ethics in Information Technology
Paper A-Application of a decision-making framework to an IT-related ethical issue
IT Related Ethical Issue
The computer is a great invention that is used in every field including corporate offices and private homes. Computers have made our day to day tasks easier to do and made a great impact in our society that is still evolving and changing each day. Workers are able to do their jobs more efficiently and allow interconnectivity between computer users all around the world through the Internet.
Computers has made it very easy for people to copy and steal intellectual property like music, movies and computer software ...view middle of the document...
Emanuel expressed his frustrations with his college roommate and his college roommate told him he can make him a copy of his Microsoft Office program so he can install it on his laptop. Emanuel was very excited to hear this and accepted his roommates offer. After installing Microsoft Office onto his laptop, he was able to complete all of his assignments on time and do them in his dorm room without going to the library.
The IT Related Ethical Dilemma/Problem with Emanuel’s Actions
The ethical dilemma for Emanuel was created when Emanuel’s roommate offered a free copy of the Microsoft office program to him.
Initially, it does not seem like Emanuel and his roommate did anything wrong but they did because Emanuel accepted to receive a program that his roommate did not have the authority to share. According to PC Magazine, software piracy is defined as “the illegal copying of software for distribution within the organization, or to friends, clubs and other groups, or for duplication and resale.” Software making companies like Microsoft and Apple lose billions of dollars each year to piracy, and although it may seem innocent enough to install an application on a couple of additional machines, it affects the profitability of software companies.
Emanuel’s roommate was trying to help him by installing Microsoft Office onto his laptop so he did not have to wait to use the college libraries computers. Unfortunately this is considered stealing because Emanuel does not have to purchase his own Microsoft office software program which negatively affects Microsoft and their profit margin. Vangie Beal from webopedia.com gives an explanation on how Emanuel’s roommate’s offer and Emanuel’s acceptance of the program is wrong:
“Most retail programs are licensed for use at just one computer site or for the use by only one user at any time. By buying the software, you become a licensed user rather than an owner. You are allowed to make copies of the program for backup purposes, but it is against the law to give copies to friends and colleagues.” (Beal, n.d)
Reynolds Seven Step Ethical Decision-Making Approach
Step one/Get the facts
Emanuel is a college student that lives on a fixed income which does not allow him to spend money on the Microsoft office program. His roommate offers a free copy for him to use on his laptop but his roommate does not have the authority to do this from Microsoft who makes the software. This is considered stealing because Microsoft is not making a profit.
Step two/Identify the stakeholders
The people who are impacted by this situation are Emanuel, his roommate and Microsoft Corporation. Emanuel’s roommate offered a free copy of Microsoft Word to Emanuel. If Emanuel accepts the offer he benefits greatly because he will be able to complete his assignments efficiently in his dorm room instead of using the college library but Microsoft will not profit and the roommate will have broken the law and potentially receive a penalty or...