Originally Posted by speakingtohe
Lots of things are legal that are not OK, lying and cheating for example.
The act of criminalizing behavior, and the ethics of that behavior are distinct issues for good reason. Partly because a reason of ethics is a poor reason to criminalize a behavior. It is a weird concept, but important if you want society to function rather than tear itself apart.
Specific ethics vary from person to person, and they evolve over time. And many ethics have little to do with how well the society functions at the large scale. Codifying too much of that into law is a recipe for a dogmatic, irrational, and dysfunctional society/government.
But here's the thing, lying and cheating can pose a problem to society. Specifically when it is easy to go back on your word in a business deal with no recourse. Thus, we include the legal concept of a contract that is enforced by civil courts. So while we don't criminalize the behavior, we make it possible to address the harm the behavior causes to society.
Copyright infringement started out purely as a civil offense, rather than criminal. I'm not a fan of how it has been made into a criminal offense. I believe the protections afforded under copyright fall under the same category that contract law provides. Not the same protections that criminal law is meant to provide.