Are droids sentient? If so, should they have the same rights as other sentient beings? Is owning a droid tantamount to owning a slave? These questions have arisen since intelligent droids were first programmed.
In the Empire, where slavery is an accepted part of Imperial culture, the issue of droid rights is meaningless: the only difference between droids and slaves is one of price. The Republic, however, was forced to address this question almost four centuries ago, when demand for a Droid Rights Bill began to gain ground. Attempts to pass the bill ended abruptly with the brief and violent "Great Droid Revolution," but the questions remain.
The opinions of droids themselves--on those rare occasions when they're asked--are divided. Some accept unquestioningly that being property and serving a master is the natural state of a droid. Other droids--usually those that have been mishandled--claim that devices such as restraining bolts perform the same function as shock collars for organic slaves, and should be just as despised. The fact that droids that do not receive regular memory wipes appear to develop a personality only fuels the ongoing debate.