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Weekly Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 15

September 23, 2021; Tishrei 17, 5782

Halacha – Jewish Law A Software’s Trial Period

Question: If a developer provides software that can be downloaded from the internet for a free evaluation period of let’s say 30 days, after which the developer says the software must be bought or deleted, how strictly must one abide by this provision?

Rabbi Yisroel Belsky ZT”L responds: If the consumer needs more time for the evaluation period, I am certain the developer will not mind if the consumer

keeps it for an extra few days past the 30-day evaluation period, assuming the potential customer is still genuinely evaluating it.

If the 30-day evaluation period has expired and the consumer is no longer

evaluating it, he must abide by the developer’s provision and either

purchase or delete the software. When a person takes something that is

meant for evaluation only and then keeps it, it is, as Rav Moshe Feinstein

ZT”L says, genuine theft*. I always tell people that no success will come

from something a person takes - a book, or anything else - that a person

should purchase, but instead figures a way to obtain it without paying for

it. Typically, the justification that I hear is that the consumer wants to use

it for some “grand purpose”. However, what value does the grand purpose

serve if it was achieved through theft?


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