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Moral to use VPN?

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Would it be moral to use a VPN to access blocked data while you are out of the country?

For example, you have a Canadian Netflix subscription but are out of the country. You would pay the VPN to give you a Canadian IP address and you would connect to Netflix via your VPN. Netflix is doing business with your Canadian IP, which you agreed to and they have rights for, and you are sending your data from your VPN to your location wherever you are worldwide.

Edited by ex_banana-eater
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It's a contractual issue, since enforcement is unlikely even if you aren't allowed to do it.

So, if you signed a contract saying you can't do it, then you ought to abide by that, IMHO. On the other hand, if the contract says nothing about it, then you can do it, of course.

Most likely, the contract tries to pin this down as best as possible; however, it is likely also that it can't be pinned, legally. So they may have a bunch of threatening legalese in the contract that boils down to "You can't do anything that we might at some point decide you shouldn't have done." Such attempts don't work on the merits, but with a good legal team they provide lots of wiggle room.

So, bottom line, you aren't likely to win a fight if it happens (i.e., if you piss them off and they target you as an example); but it's not likely to happen, either.

If a rational interpretation of the contract you agreed to doesn't pin this down, I'd say give it a try.

- ico

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I looked at the YouTube terms of service since Youtube is one of the sites I would use to occasionally access content that might not be available in my area. Once in a while, after a long time on Youtube I might find a video or two that say they are restricted in my area. Anyway I could not find anything that I thought was related to using a VPN.

However I did find this:

Content is provided to you AS IS. You may access Content for your information and personal use solely as intended through the provided functionality of the Service and as permitted under these Terms of Service. [qb]You shall not download any Content unless you see a “download” or similar link displayed by YouTube on the Service for that Content. You shall not copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, or otherwise exploit any Content for any other purposes without the prior written consent of YouTube or the respective licensors of the Content. YouTube and its licensors reserve all rights not expressly granted in and to the Service and the Content.

I have an application on my iPod and which is popular for the iPhone that allows one to save a video and watch it when they're away from an internet connection. Sometimes I find it tiring to be an Objectivist... haha, am I suppose to not save those videos then? I wonder what the damage to me would be. Would I be gaining an unearned value?

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You should live by your own values and principles, as you understand them. Following other people's rules, even if you don't understand where they come from, is pointless. It's definitely not Objectivism.

Objectivism is not about rules, it's about values and principles. It's not about the laws of society, it's about who you are. Your concern (if you see Objectivism as the right philosophy) should not be to follow the perceived rules of Objectivism. Instead, it should be to become an Objectivist. There's a huge difference. For starters, and Objectivist has to understand the abstractions of the philosopy.

But, beyond understanding, the most important thing an Objectivist has is integrity. His beliefs and values/actions are in sync. This youtube thing is pretty trivial, but are all your important actions and values in sync with beliefs you profess to hold? Do you always work as hard as you could, do you always treat others justly and with the kindness they deserve, do you always have the courage to claim what you believe is yours, to say what you believe should be said, to talk to the woman who's lover you believe you deserve to become, etc.?

If the answer to all those questions becomes yes, then doing the right thing about some stupid youtube rule will not be tiring at all. Not living up to a principle you profess to hold (or one you have judged to be correct) would become the strenuous, intolerable action. Treating the owner of Youtube unfairly (and make no mistake about it, violating the terms of service of a private enterprise means treating the owner unfairly) will seem unconscionable to you.

Look at it this way: if you were alone on an island, an no one could ever find out, would you kick a puppy (not hard, but enough to scare it away) just because it would be easier than actually picking it up and moving it out of the way? If the answer is "No, that would be horrible.", that's because you truly believe in a set of principles that prevent you from doing that, and that belief you accepted is entirely in sync with your values and actions. Once treating others fairly becomes just as much a part of who you are, you will be one step closer to being an Objectivist, and not acting like an Objectivist will become just as horrible as kicking a puppy.

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Objectivism is not about rules, it's about values and principles. It's not about the laws of society, it's about who you are. Your concern (if you see Objectivism as the right philosophy) should not be to follow the perceived rules of Objectivism. Instead, it should be to become an Objectivist.

My main concern is neither. It is to be happy and achieve my values. So when I ask a question about whether something is right or wrong, I am not asking whether I should follow a rule in itself. I'm asking whether I will benefit from following it. Right now, because of the intricacy of this subject and how it relates to special property contracts, it is hard for me to see the benefits and drawbacks. So I was never into following rules for themselves.

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