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Old 08-18-2009, 10:59 AM   #1
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Moral Stance

I know a lot of people frown upon piracy and for good reason. I however have a question.

In the past I have had a favourite author release a number of books in E-book format. In each instance, I have bought the book and enjoyed it. The, for some reason the latest book released was only available as a physical book (same publisher so that wasn't the reason!).

Since I will no longer buy physical books (I no longer have the room in the house for them and I don't want to buy and get rid!), I borrowed the book from the library. From their, I scanned and OCR'd so I could read it in digital format (this is my current preferred method).

So, while I agree that this was probably illegal, where do I stand morally? I have rented the book from the library so the Author will get any royalties they may get paid (in the event that they do get paid!). I returned the book sooner than I would have done if I was reading it (and I would probably have extended the loan period) meaning somebody else could borrow it sooner than they otherwise would have been able to (meaning more royalty payments).

While I still have a copy of the book on my reader, it is unlikely that I will read it again (it was a good book, but not good enough for me to not read something new instead!)

Bear in mind, I only did this because the electronic version wasn't available. Also, I have never shared any of my E-books with anybody else (including legally bought and released of the DRM shackles).

So, morally, where do I stand?
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:49 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by PieOPah View Post
I know a lot of people frown upon piracy and for good reason. I however have a question.

In the past I have had a favourite author release a number of books in E-book format. In each instance, I have bought the book and enjoyed it. The, for some reason the latest book released was only available as a physical book (same publisher so that wasn't the reason!).

Since I will no longer buy physical books (I no longer have the room in the house for them and I don't want to buy and get rid!), I borrowed the book from the library. From their, I scanned and OCR'd so I could read it in digital format (this is my current preferred method).

So, while I agree that this was probably illegal, where do I stand morally? I have rented the book from the library so the Author will get any royalties they may get paid (in the event that they do get paid!). I returned the book sooner than I would have done if I was reading it (and I would probably have extended the loan period) meaning somebody else could borrow it sooner than they otherwise would have been able to (meaning more royalty payments).

While I still have a copy of the book on my reader, it is unlikely that I will read it again (it was a good book, but not good enough for me to not read something new instead!)

Bear in mind, I only did this because the electronic version wasn't available. Also, I have never shared any of my E-books with anybody else (including legally bought and released of the DRM shackles).

So, morally, where do I stand?
You stand in the grey area of copyright infringement. You are no more a 'pirate' than you are a 'buccaneer' or a "longeshoreman". You gained no monetary profit from your actions, you did not share the copyrighted work, and at worst your actions might be described as format shifting. If you feel any guilt (and why would you, it was a library loan after all) then buy a physical copy of the book and donate it to someone, or send a donation to a charity or do something nice for someone.

What was the book, by the way? Because odds are high that if it was a popular author you could have downloaded it from the net and foregone the annoying OCR task.
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:12 PM   #3
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As long as you delete the book, page scans, etc, from your PC and all your reading devices at the end of the library loan period, I would have no moral issues with this. If you don't delete them, then I do have issues, since in that circumstance you have, in essence, "stolen" a copy of the book from the library (quotes indicating that it is not technically "stealing", for the pedants among us).
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Old 08-18-2009, 12:54 PM   #4
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I think the fact that I have put work into creating the book in the required format makes it morally better than getting a downloaded copy.

Also, I have given hundreds of books to charity (and money on a monthly basis) so regularly do nice things
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by PieOPah View Post
I think the fact that I have put work into creating the book in the required format makes it morally better than getting a downloaded copy.

Also, I have given hundreds of books to charity (and money on a monthly basis) so regularly do nice things
Well then, you're in the clear
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:08 PM   #6
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I'm with Harry on this. If you did the work yourself and then have deleted the work after reading, then who's lost out?

Just a point of info: You rent your books from the library?
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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Remember the golden rule - "He who has the gold makes the rules." If you "pirate" a book, that's illegal but if the author/publisher/editor sells you a book that is poorly written/edited/printed then that just too bad. If a software producer sells you SW that doesn't do everything it says it will or requires you to buy different hardware (from them), etc. then that's just good business. E.g. a reader's SW that is advertised as supporting the RTF format but will not display images or TOCs (even though the RTF format, when properly implemented, does) then your out of luck. If a reader manufacturer upgrades their new model to do new wonderful things and leaves their old model hanging and refuses to upgrade it, well you see how the golden rule works.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:23 PM   #8
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I'm with Harry on this. If you did the work yourself and then have deleted the work after reading, then who's lost out?

Just a point of info: You rent your books from the library?
I loan them (for free) I probably made a typo or something (I haven't read over what I wrote). I do believe that Authors still do get some money for books when they are loaned out!
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:34 PM   #9
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As long as you delete the book, page scans, etc, from your PC and all your reading devices at the end of the library loan period, I would have no moral issues with this. If you don't delete them, then I do have issues, since in that circumstance you have, in essence, "stolen" a copy of the book from the library (quotes indicating that it is not technically "stealing", for the pedants among us).

It's not pedantic to use the correct term. If you steal, then you deprive the original owner of their property. Copying does not equal stealing.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:48 PM   #10
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Copying does not equal stealing.
Then there is the whole debate about intelectual property...
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:00 PM   #11
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Hmm, I'd say only if you bought the pbook and kept it (or destroyed it, as you have a copy of it, so you won't need the pbook), you would be completely in the clear. Or you should delete the book in all forms on your pc/reader/etc.

The funny thing is... I could buy a CD, make a copy of that CD and sell that CD again (or give it away) and be still be in the law here. Or I could borrow a CD from a friend, make a copy and give that CD again. As long as I don't sell that copy and do the copying myself, it's legal. Even though I don't actually own the original CD. Whether this goes for books, is rather a grey area though...
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:03 PM   #12
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I loan them (for free) I probably made a typo or something (I haven't read over what I wrote). I do believe that Authors still do get some money for books when they are loaned out!
In the UK, authors who've registered get about 6p per loan up to a £6,600 limit (approx. 110,00 loans) - then further loans for that year don't contribute to their take.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:57 PM   #13
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if you're not reproducing it for profit or redistribution, then it is certainly not illegal. don't worry.

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Old 08-19-2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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if you're not reproducing it for profit or redistribution, then it is certainly not illegal. don't worry.
That is incorrect. Violating copyright, in most countries, has nothing to do with whether it's being done for "profit or redistribution". The penalty may, but the actual act doesn't.
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