Originally Posted by Shaggy
The law is a little silly in this regards. You're right, there really is no difference as far as you making your own eBook, or downloading one. Where there is a difference though, is that the person you download it from is committing copyright infringement.
I believe the downloader is (often) also committing copyright infringement. The issue is, he's creating *one* copy, which is below the threshold of criminal copyright infringement, and he's not distributing.
It's really, really hard to (1) track exactly who that person is to file a civil suit, (2) prove that the digital copy he has is an illegal copy, not something made by/for fair use, and (3) convince a judge that making a single copy of, oh, Under the Dome
is worth thousands of dollars in damages, much less hundreds of thousands. If they managed to prove a single-book case, any halfway sensible judge & jury would look at it like petty theft, plus a bit of penalty fines.
They don't have the resources to file those suits; nobody does. It's not that downloaders are never breaking copyright law, but they're breaking a smaller part of it, at such a tiny scale that it's not worth going after. And a downloader might have a claim for fair use--"multiple copies for classroom use
" is an example of fair use, and the law doesn't say teachers have to provide those copies.