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Old 04-07-2010, 03:16 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by dadioflex View Post
The baby condor was a racist. ethical yesno?
The baby condor was a racist only because, as we all know, baby condors have no free will and so anything they do they do entirely as a consequence of their conditioning - they could not do otherwise = not OK
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:28 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by TGS View Post
Just to clarify (though why I feel the need to clarify my position to a bunch of people I only "know" through screen names and avatars is itself an interesting question), when I said "law trumps ethics" it was a rhetorical statement. I was suggesting that the poster to whom I was responding was advocating that view. My own view is that, at the point that the law is constructed so as to be in the interests of the powerful at the expense of the less powerful it becomes decoupled from ethics.

Phew...I feel much better now
Sorry for not catching the rhetorical nature of your post. Appreciate the clarification.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:54 PM   #33
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I think the ethicist is right.

Publisher got paid, author got paid; no harm no foul. John Scalzi appears to feel the same.

Last edited by catsittingstill; 04-07-2010 at 03:55 PM. Reason: fix link
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:57 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by TGS View Post
Just to clarify (though why I feel the need to clarify my position to a bunch of people I only "know" through screen names and avatars is itself an interesting question), when I said "law trumps ethics" it was a rhetorical statement. I was suggesting that the poster to whom I was responding was advocating that view. My own view is that, at the point that the law is constructed so as to be in the interests of the powerful at the expense of the less powerful it becomes decoupled from ethics.

Phew...I feel much better now
...the law in its majestic equality "forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." --Anatole France
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:51 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
an illegal act in many jurisdictions—the UPloading of the copy you downloaded. The act of downloading is legal in some jurisdictions and not in others.
The first example never mentioned uploading, only downloading. Yes, for torrents and some other varieties of p2p, downloading implies uploading (or at least 'making available'), but for usenet, or RapidShare, or other ways of getting a file, no uploading is necessary, so it doesn't have to enter into ethical consideration.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:17 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Jadon View Post
The first example never mentioned uploading, only downloading. Yes, for torrents and some other varieties of p2p, downloading implies uploading (or at least 'making available'), but for usenet, or RapidShare, or other ways of getting a file, no uploading is necessary, so it doesn't have to enter into ethical consideration.
I'm not sure the ethical considerations are that different, though the legal ones may be.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:06 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
....

Actually, the author and publisher were paid. They got their money at the original sale of the HC -- and that's all the law says that they are entitled to. Most folks (IMHO) agree that neither author nor publisher has any claim on any part of subsequent re-sale of the HC. Law and ethics both satisfied in my opinion. As always, YMMV.

As with the previous example, the author and the publisher WERE PAID IN FULL when the original purchaser bought the HC. That's exactly why this is legal and ethical everywhere! Your analysis of the consequence is flawed.

....
Good point you made!

That the author and publisher are not being paid is the first and most used argument against ebook piracy.
And that's the ethical difference between digital and analog world: you can sell the hardcopy you bought, and that's legal (*) and fair. But you can't sell the digital copy you bought. Not even if you made it from the paper copy you own in a destructive manner and manage to keep it unique.

Another example is bookcrossing: you can drop a book on a bench to be taken and you're doing nothing wrong. But, if you create a web site where ebooks can be uploaded and downloaded only once (**), you are, at the least, a pirate and a copyright infringer.

[OFF TOPIC]
Another topic, with its own threads in this forum, is when you said that author and publisher are paid "for that particular copy", which have completely no sense in digital: which copy do you actually refer to? The one in the server? The one created by the web app when you download it? The one in your ISP cache? The one mirrored in some remote router? The one you got in your RAM while downloading it? The one in your disk drive? The back up one? and so on....
While paper copies of a book can be precisely accounted for, it's a nonsense to try to do the same for a digital file...
[/OFF TOPIC]

I know people who consider taping a 33rpm on a cassette and give it away an offence less serious than ripping a CD and give it away in a USB bar!

Personally I really don't know.
I've suspended my judgement on the matter, and I try to understand what's behind every opinion to make my own.
As for now, I've bought lots of books, sold or given away most of the paper copies, kept the digital ones for myself (after a DRM-stripping and format shifting process) and I feel good.


________________
(*) IMHO, the used book market is permitted only because it's impossible to enforce a strict prohibtion, even in a USSR-like state. In the digital world, DRM makes it possibile, and that's happening.
(**) That's hypotetical: imagine an ebook-crossing site, where the users ulpoad e-books deleting their original copy, and the server deletes every single file as soon as the first download is completed. Every book exists in a single "live" copy (misbehaving users do not exist by hypothesis). Guess what? It's not legal in my country, and I bet there are people who find it unethical...
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #38
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I'd have to disagree with your position on both of your two footnotes. For the first, the used book market exists exactly because of the "First Sale Doctrine" (U.S.) or the doctrine of "Exhaustion" (European Union). In this sense buying and selling used books is exactly the same as buying and selling used-generic-physical-objects. So the impossibility of enforcing a strict prohibition is not relevant.

For the hypothetical in your second, I think that the proprietors of such a site would likely end up in court (at least here in the U.S). I also fully expect that they'd win! Because (in this hypothetical case) there are no misbehaving users, the site would be conforming perfectly with First Sale Doctrine -- no harm, no foul. DRM issues might well make those single copies useless to the downloader, but that's not part of the hypothetical case. I also suspect that the EU doctrine of exhaustion would make it legal in Italy -- doesn't EU law take precedence?

As always, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice!

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Old 04-08-2010, 10:52 AM   #39
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I'm not sure the ethical considerations are that different, though the legal ones may be.
IMO, the ethical considerations are vastly different.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:57 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Format C: View Post
And that's the ethical difference between digital and analog world: you can sell the hardcopy you bought, and that's legal (*) and fair. But you can't sell the digital copy you bought. Not even if you made it from the paper copy you own in a destructive manner and manage to keep it unique.
What makes you think you can't sell the digital copy?

Quote:
Another example is bookcrossing: you can drop a book on a bench to be taken and you're doing nothing wrong. But, if you create a web site where ebooks can be uploaded and downloaded only once (**), you are, at the least, a pirate and a copyright infringer.
If the ebook can only be downloaded once and the original is destroyed in the process, then that's not piracy or copyright infringement. It's the same thing as giving away the physical book.


Quote:
IMHO, the used book market is permitted only because it's impossible to enforce a strict prohibtion, even in a USSR-like state. In the digital world, DRM makes it possibile, and that's happening.
The used book market exists because of law, and the first sale doctrine. That has nothing to do with whether the media is physical or digital.

Quote:
That's hypotetical: imagine an ebook-crossing site, where the users ulpoad e-books deleting their original copy, and the server deletes every single file as soon as the first download is completed. Every book exists in a single "live" copy (misbehaving users do not exist by hypothesis). Guess what? It's not legal in my country, and I bet there are people who find it unethical...
What makes you think that's not legal?
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:09 AM   #41
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IMO, the ethical considerations are vastly different.
In what way?
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Old 04-08-2010, 01:25 PM   #42
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In what way?
I assume what we're talking about here is

Downloading an eBook for a pBook that you already own.

vs

Uploading copies of an eBook to anybody that wants one.


Is that what you're talking about, or were you referring to uploading copies only to other people that already own the pBook?
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:01 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
I assume what we're talking about here is

Downloading an eBook for a pBook that you already own.

vs

Uploading copies of an eBook to anybody that wants one.


Is that what you're talking about, or were you referring to uploading copies only to other people that already own the pBook?
I think I was questioning the ethical (though not legal) difference between the act of uploading an ebook* to enable others who haven't paid for it to download it (regardless of whether the uploader has paid for it), and the act of downloading an ebook that someone has uploaded** (regardless of whether the uploader has paid for it). I'm not sure whether the uploader having paid for it or not changes the ethical character of the act very much, and I'm not sure there's much difference between (maybe not no difference, but not much), between the ethical value of the act of the uploader and the act of the downloader.

*Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the book in question is in-print as a book and available as an ebook.
**Let's also assume for the sake of argument that the uploader has made it available to anyone who finds it.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #44
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I think I was questioning the ethical (though not legal) difference between the act of uploading an ebook* to enable others who haven't paid for it to download it (regardless of whether the uploader has paid for it), and the act of downloading an ebook that someone has uploaded** (regardless of whether the uploader has paid for it).
In the first case (uploading an ebook to others), no, it doesn't really make any difference if the uploader owns a legal copy or not. It's still unethical and illegal to distribute somebody else's work without their permission.

In the second case (downloading an ebook), it's not a matter of whether the uploader has paid for it, but whether the downloader has. If the downloader has paid for the pBook, then it's an entirely different ethical matter.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:54 PM   #45
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If the downloader has paid for the pBook, then it's an entirely different ethical matter.
I accept the point that downloading from, what for want of a better word, we are calling the darknet, is sometimes construed as a form of convenient format shifting. And I also probably accept there is "some" ethical difference between this and downloading where the downloader has paid for nothing. What I was questioning was whether there was a difference in ethical value between the act of downloading something you haven't paid for and the act of uploading something so that other people can download that thing, without paying for it.

I'm not expressing a view on what the ethical value of those act might be, I simply suggesting that, whatever value they have is pretty similar.

I'm not of course talking about those cases where the downloader "doesn't know" that this thing they are downloading isn't in the public domain, but where it's quite plain because of what they are downloading and where they are downloading it from that this is an "unauthorized" download. And of course, whether anyone knows about it or can prove it doesn't really change the ethical value of the act.
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