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Copying and morality

Published on 2. Juli 2014, 17:26 h
International conference at Bielefeld University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research is trying to formulate an ethics of copying

One party considers that the legal restrictions on copying don’t go far enough; the other party takes advantage of the available copying technologies without any sense of wrongdoing. What could be a fair balance between these two positions? From July 8–11, an international conference entitled ‘The Ethics of Copying’ will be addressing this issue at Bielefeld University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF). 

Copying is an age-old human practice. However, since copying technology has made it possible to copy almost anything without effort or loss of quality, it has turned into a problem covering completely new dimensions. Whereas, for example, copying medicinal drugs can save lives, copying works of art or inventions threatens the economic existence of creative artists or companies. 

Which types of copying are allowed is regulated by law. However, in the age of the Internet, enforcing copy prohibitions is often only possible through massive surveillance. In addition, the copiers themselves consider many legal restrictions on copying to be completely incomprehensible, to impede the development of art and culture, or to represent unfair privileges for those holding the copyright over cultural possessions. 

‘The major discrepancy between the legal position and the common practice in which millions of  copy prohibitions are violated every day shows that something is missing here: namely, an ethics of copying,’ says the head of the conference, the philosopher Professor Dr. Reinold Schmücker from the University of Münster. Such an ethics would have to be effective in two fields: it would have to work out standards that correctly balance the interests of all involved in the copying process, and it would have to contribute to ensuring that such standards are not only taken into account in the legal regulation of copying processes but also reflected in case law. 

At the conference, 35 researchers from nine different countries will be discussing identity, originality, plagiarism, and copyright law while considering how to define what should be understood as a copy and working out an ethics of copying. The conference will be held in English.

Media representatives are cordially invited to report on the conference.

Conference hours:
Tuesday, 8 July 2014, 18.00 to 21.00  
Wednesday, 9 July 2014, 9.30 to 19.00 
Thursday, 10 July 2014, 9.30 to 21.00  
Friday, 11 July 2014, 9.30 to 13.30 

Further information is available online:

Contact for questions related to the content of the conference:
Prof. Dr. Reinold Schmücker, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Department of Philosophy 
Telephone: 0251 83 24594
Email: schmuecker@uni-muenster.de

Please register at the conference office:
Marina Hoffmann, Bielefeld University
Center for Interdisciplinary Research
Telephone: +49 (0)521 106-2768
Email: marina.hoffmann@uni-bielefeld.de
Posted by JHeeren in General
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