Ethical Issues Resulting in Acts Essay

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Ethical Issues Resulting in Acts

BIS 220
July 07, 2013
Keith Hopkins
Ethical Issues Resulting in Acts In today’s world where our entire lives are stored in our cell phones, and there is an app at our fingertips for almost everything you one could imagine it is easy to forget that mobile phones of any kind were rarely used just 25 years ago (Wray, 2009). Technology has grown leaps and bounce since 1989 when cell phones were starting to show up in homes across America. The creation of the Internet opened up doors to ethical dilemmas that had out advanced the law at that time. From piracy of songs and illegally downloading movies to sharing software programs with friends or selling for a profit, the existing Copyright Act did not cover these scenarios. Advances information technology such as the Internet and automated dialers resulted in need to pass the No Electronic Theft (NET) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to address ethical and legal dilemmas. The NET Act was enacted by Congress in 1997 and made it a federal crime to share or reproduce electronic copyrighted works such as songs, movies, and software (Indiana University, 2012). A big advancement in this act over the older legislature was that the infringement was a crime regardless whether the participant receives a profit from their actions or not. Seventeen U.S.C., Chapter 5. Of the Copyright Act only considered infringement a crime if it were done “willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain.” 17 U.S.C. § 506(a) (Peters, 1997). While violating this act carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine it does not seem to deter people from still openly committing this crime; unintentional or not. As the Internet and other technologies developed companies found ways to streamline and improve processes. As businesses began leveraging technology to reach consumers, some willing, and some not, the government realized they need to step in and protect consumers. The TCPA Act was passe in 1991 and the regulations included in the act became effective on December 20, 1992 (, 2013). This particular act included many parts, the most important to telephone marketers being: calls can only be made between 8 a.m - 9 p.m, there must be a maintained “do not call list” for customers who wish not to receive additional calls, a written policy must be available, and defined training must be provided to employees making calls (DMA org , 2013). There were a few other important parts to this act: auto dialers were ban from calling emergency numbers, including hospitals, doctor or medical service lines, 911, poison control centers as well as police or fire stations. It also included a ban of pre-recorded messages calling residences except in case of emergency or when prior consent was given, requirement that anyone calling on an auto dialer must disclose their identity at the beginning of the call and leave their phone number prior to the end, and a ban of soliciting via fax. Both the NET and TCPA Acts were written and passed because technology had surpassed the realm of the existing laws in place. When the Copyright Act was written file sharing, illegal downloading, and “underground software” did not exist. Music sharing companies such as Napster and LimeWire quickly expose the loopholes in the existing law. Users were not profiting from their sharing therefore they were not violating the Copyright laws. These laws did not cover electronic copyright infringement at all. In addition to file sharing, as websites became more popular the need to protect information online became more evident. The law did not cover the reproduction of works on the Internet. As technologies developed within the telecommunications arena lawmakers found it necessary to update the laws that protect consumers. As the use of auto dialers became extremely common for