One of the things I missed while out of town was Larry Simon catching Sen. Orrin Hatch using unlicensed software on his Senate web page. The story was widely picked up (see Wired's coverage, for example, which notes that Continental Airlines is doing the same thing). Larry got himself quoted in this Salt Lake Trib story and noted by the hometown paper. In the end, Hatch and the software contractor who did his web page as well as those of several other Senators fixed the problem, but the whole issue raises a bunch of questions, some of which Larry poses here:
So what if a contractor did the site for him. The site would be just as much in violation and could be smoked.
So what if the software was for free. It was unlicensed, period. Would a Freeware/Adware/Shareware developer have the right to defend their intellectual property the same as Microsoft or Sun would?
So what if it was a mistake. As I hear 100 times a day, the country is full of "computer dummies" that make mistakes all the time. But should such a mistake have such a drastic remedy without due process?
So what it's just a computer. Yes, and try to think of all the things that run on a computer. My brother-in-law went in for surgery a while back. He came out with a computer-controlled drip in his arm. What would have happened if the control software had been illegal, on a wireless LAN, and "fried" by Orrin Hatch?
Good job, Larry. I'm sure you won't let all this fame go to your head.Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 23, 2003 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack