An Ethical And Law Abiding Programmer

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As a programmer and game developer, I’ve come to notice some of the ethical responsibilities that come with these roles. Programmers are given (or taken) access rather easily to sensitive information such as, credit card details, personal information, etc. All information that can, if mishandled, have the potential to negatively affect the livelihood of people. Having just done a blog on data leaks and general hacking, I know now just how common it is that programmers take the not so ethical route and cause some serious damage.

Being a programmer, jobs are spares and you take what you can get. You may take on jobs in displaying advertising where you program the display of ethically wrong ads that scam or mislead users. There are also some really dodgy stuff going on in the gambling side of videogames where they intentionally get players addicted and spend tremendous amounts of money until their lively hood is beyond repair.

We as programmers are responsible of preventing these happenings as best we can. Making the hard choice to take or pass on such jobs is a hard decision many make.

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Among this ethical responsibilities where you’re not breaking the law, there still are responsibilities we have are to abide by to remain lawful as programmers. This mostly entails abiding by licensing of libraries and frameworks.

For instance, I use Unity alot, thankfully its free and thats super handy but once I earn over a certain amount, I have to pay for a pro licence of there will be repercussions.

Another instance is FMOD, when I first stumbled upon FMOD I was taken by the surprise that it was free, although, it’s actually the same with Unity, it’s only free until a certain amount is made with the tool in use.

Again, I’ve worked with a bunch of people that use git kraken over source tree like the rest of the team. And I had come to learn that you are not allowed to use it on a commercial project under the free licence of git kraken. Of-which was a surprise to learn.

Then theres a vast range of libraries that have licenses. Typically these libraries are free to use as a tool in your project, however mostly not allow re-distribution of the libraries.

Some of the licences under creative commons (CC) licences:

  • Attribution (BY)

    • This applies to every Creative Commons work. Whenever a work is copied or redistributed under a Creative Commons licence, the original creator (and any other nominated parties) must be credited and the source linked to.

  • NonCommercial (NC)

    • Lets others copy, distribute, display and perform the work for noncommercial purposes only.

  • No Derivative Works (ND)

    • Lets others distribute, display and perform only verbatim copies of the work. They may not adapt or change the work in any way.

  • Share Alike (SA)

    • Allows others to remix, adapt and build on the work, but only if they distribute the derivative works under the same the licence terms that govern the original work.

As long as my fellow team members and I follow these licensing terms that the libraries and frameworks have in place, we’ll be fine. Just always need to keep an eye out for what libraries we’re using are under.