Originally Posted by elcreative
Fair use doesn't let you copy the whole damn book...
§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use)
, scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.
The issue is potentially whether the use is "classroom" based, or whether the entire work is necessary for the critique/scholarship use being supported.
The "four factors" have to consider whether financial harm is being done by the copying--and if there's no legit digital version being sold, it's hard to claim that unauthorized ones are cutting into ebook profits. It's also hard to prove society's being damaged by removing profits from a publishing company 20 years after the death of the author with no identifiable heirs.
I'm not saying digitizing-and-sharing whole books for educational purposes is always legal, but there *is* a substantial argument for it in many specific cases.