Originally Posted by pdurrant
In the first one has paid for permanent access to a copy of the work. Making an additional copy of the work for one's own use seems plainly ethical to me, and is legal in the US, although not in the UK.
In the second case, one has paid (through taxes) for communal, temporary access to a limited number of copies of the work. Making an additional copy of the work to gain permanent access to a copy of the work without further compensating the author is unethical.
If everyone did the first, no-one would suffer any loss of revenue. If everyone did the second, there would be a large enough loss of revenue that it would no longer be economically viable to make books available to libraries.
Thank you for the explanation, but I still have a little trouble seeing the distinction.
What you are saying is that it is ethical to buy a 2nd-hand out of print book and to make a copy for your own purposes without further compensating the author
; but that is unethical to borrow the book from a library and make a copy for your own purposes unless you do further compensate the author