Help me with my moral dilemma

Computer software can be rather expensive, so I shop for deals, usually using eBay and Amazon Marketplace. For example, I picked up an academic version of Microsoft Office 16 Pro for just $29.99 from a company that specializes in selling academic software. I was a staff member at a university prior to being disabled, so I did qualify for the steep discount. But yesterday I bought some Adobe software from a private owner which turned out to be pirated. The guy is long gone and I do not want to get involved in chasing the guy down or calling the police. My dilemma is whether or not keep the software which I already installed? Do I keep it and use it, or do I uninstall it?

Just uninstall it and buy the real deal.

I would keep it and use it since it’s already there and working.

Pay for it to the legit owner (the fact that one paid someone who may have stole it -though he may have thought it was legit -does not make it ok to just keep it)

You did not buy it knowing it was pirated. Very unfortunate, but no moral guilt on your part. I would wonder at the moral value of not using the installed software. Does it help the manufacturer? Yes, you could buy a new one, but an incredible cost for no moral failure on your part. Pray about it and follow your conscience after some interior reflection.

I agree 100 percent. :slight_smile:


When one has a dilemma like this and doesn’t suffer from scrupulocity, the mere fact that there is a dilemma to post about sort of tells you the answer.

In the old days we just called it a conscience and it took the form of a cricket.

The time I spent thinking about this, I could have been praying. The programs are nothing that will gain me pleasure. But for me, it seems to be in the gray area and probably does not that big of a difference one way or the other since God knows my intentions. I think I will talk to a priest and let him be the arbitrator.

Agreed. :slight_smile:

How do you know it is pirated?

When you have to copy new drivers to the software folder after the installation to bypass the need for activation, it’s pirated.

If you didn’t have any notion the software was not genuine then I think you could still use it. What if you had purchased a supposedly genuine brand name auto part for your car. When you received the part you found out it wasn’t in fact genuine. Would you then be obligated to destroy the part and purchase a new one that was in fact genuine? I don’t think so. A non genuine auto part could be said to result in a loss of income for the true brand owner just as much as with software. Now if you got the software for a ridiculously low price on a sketchy website you might ought to purchase a legit copy.

Well… He bought Adobe software, cheap, from a private user. Kinda like how I bought a folex watch for 20 dollars in Italy…

At some point naivety is not an option.

I agree. Naivety is not an option when you are no longer naive. I don’t know if that is the case here nor could I.

A reasonable person can make prudential judgements. Especially where something like software is concerned.
So let’s clear up the naivety.

Op, when buying something cheap from a private party, especially when it is something that is pirated often, there is a good chance it is not an ethical transaction. This goes for movies as well as guns…:rolleyes:

I agree. But I’ve also been asked by several people, all older but not old, if the guy calling from Microsoft offering to upgrade their computers for free was legitimate. They weren’t sure he wasn’t.

Right and there is a Nigerian prince with some cash for them. The problem is that based on the incredibly intelligent posting history of Robert sock I’m not sure we are talking about someone who can claim ignorance on the issue. Best to be safe and ethical rather than a savy deal hunter when engaging in purchasing software.

You didn’t necessarily know at the time that the software was not legit, but you do know now so best to uninstall it. It’s tricky with electronic theft because it seems like you have not deprived someone of their goods (if instead of Adobe you took my lunch, I wouldn’t have my lunch!). However, Adobe should have received money in order for you to obtain their software, and it’s against justice to deprive them of that while using their software.

It’s great that you’re examining these actions…it’ SO common to pirate music, movies, software, etc. and I think it’s extremely admirable that you even had a second thought…I didn’t think about this until a Priest brought it to my attention a few years ago…and then I tried to argue with him about it! LOL.

I confessed this as a possible sin to my priest and made it explicit that I installed the software on my computer. The priest only said to say five Hail Marys. How do we deal with the likelihood that another priest may well have reached another conclusion, that the software should be uninstalled?

You don’t priest shop. You accept what the priest told you in Confession and that’s the end of it.

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