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Old 08-24-2010, 01:45 PM   #1
ManosHandsOfFate
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Using "alternative" sources to obtain books you already own?

I guess this is a question of ethics vs legality.

My plan is to do most of my future reading on an e-reader. I have a LOT of books lying around the house that I've bought but haven't read yet.

I fully admit that I have no intention re-buying digital versions of these books and intend to acquire what I can via bittorent. I don't see this as unethical (although I'd be interested to have someone try to persuade me otherwise)

Obviously, I'd love to see a legal way to do this (bring your hard copies back to a B&N and they'll give you digital rights for cheap/free) but I doubt that'll happen.

What did you all do when you first got your e-readers? Did you suck it up and buy second digital copies? Did you only buy digital versions of books you don't own, and just keep reading your hard copies?
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:07 PM   #2
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No comment, but for the record, there is a legal (though cumbersome and not particularly useful) way to do this legally: scan the books, use OCR software to pull the words, then go through them and correct the text. Of course, given how much work is involved, most people choose one of the two roots you suggested or just don't bother and stick with the pbook. . .

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Old 08-24-2010, 02:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by eric11210 View Post
No comment, but for the record, there is a legal (though cumbersome and not particularly useful) way to do this legally: scan the books, use OCR software to pull the words, then go through them and correct the text. Of course, given how much work is involved, most people choose one of the two roots you suggested or just don't bother and stick with the pbook. . .

Eric
But is this really legal? I thought that reproducing entire books was illegal.
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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I've actually done that with a few of my books. Honestly, I don't care if it's illegal--I'm doing it only for me and not distributing. I'll admit I've gotten a lot of my books from the 'Darknet'. The last ebook I looked for was more expensive than the hard cover edition on both Amazon and B&N. Until that changes, I'll probably continue to get my books elsewhere
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Old 08-24-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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Scanning a complete book is definitely not legal. The copyright page of the book contains the phrase that "reproduction in part or in whole" ... or something to that effect.

So ... either way you look at it, reproducing a book without permission is illegal ... the ethics you have to figure out yourself.

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Old 08-24-2010, 03:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by hpjrt View Post
Scanning a complete book is definitely not legal. The copyright page of the book contains the phrase that "reproduction in part or in whole" ... or something to that effect.

So ... either way you look at it, reproducing a book without permission is illegal ... the ethics you have to figure out yourself.

Mary
Sigh, be careful about believing what the publishers tell you. This question was answered in the 1980s with VCRs. Format shifting is considered legitimate fair use provided it is for personal use. It is essentially the same as copying a record to Cassette so that you can use it in your car, or ripping a CD into mp3 files. As long no profit is made, and the result is not given to other people, no crime is committed.

--
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
Sigh, be careful about believing what the publishers tell you. This question was answered in the 1980s with VCRs. Format shifting is considered legitimate fair use provided it is for personal use. It is essentially the same as copying a record to Cassette so that you can use it in your car, or ripping a CD into mp3 files. As long no profit is made, and the result is not given to other people, no crime is committed.
So then perhaps using the Darknet to grab a copy of a book you already have isn't illegal?
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Old 08-24-2010, 03:51 PM   #8
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Fair use laws mean that you do have the right to copy the book for your personal use. The DMCA, as far as I know does not restrict this. It only forbids circumventing copy protection schemes, which you are not doing. However, I'd say that legally, obtaining a copy of a book from darknet that you already own in print form is a much shakier legal question.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:01 PM   #9
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So then perhaps using the Darknet to grab a copy of a book you already have isn't illegal?
I Am Not A Lawyer... (but I have attended a semester-long graduate seminar on IP issues for Computer Scientists). Armed with the combination of my class notes and my layman's misinterpretations of the law, I offer the following analysis (of US law; other countries differ):
  • Format-shifting a legitimately-acquired work is virtually certain to be legal -- assuming that you do the format-shifting yourself, don't need to break or remove any DRM, and hold onto the original copy.
  • Downloading a "pirate" copy of a legitimately-acquired work (to avoid the effort of format-shifting) is virtually certain to be illegal. Note, however, that your offence (as the downloader) is significantly less than that of the UPloader. This is what the earlier post is asking about.
  • Sharing your legitimately-acquired work with 50,000 of your closest friends is certainly illegal -- it's a clear violation of copyright. Unless, of course, you are specifically authorized to do so by the copyright holder (in which case, you are probably a publisher or eBook retailer, or...).
  • Stripping DRM from legitimately-acquired works for personal use only may or may not be legal; experts differ, and no court has yet ruled. The DMCA (which appears to be the controlling law for this question) contains contradictory statements, so we need the courts to sort it out. Some experts opine that this is clearly fair-use and is permitted; others argue that it's clearly a felony.

As I mentioned above, I am not a lawyer, so you should not rely on this advice for legal purposes. If you need an opinion on which you can place reliance, go pay for a real lawyer who specializes in this area; it won't be cheap.

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Old 08-24-2010, 04:15 PM   #10
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As I mentioned above, I am not a lawyer, so you should not rely on this advice for legal purposes. If you need an opinion on which you can place reliance, go pay for a real lawyer who specializes in this area; it won't be cheap.

Xenophon
That was very helpful Xenophon.

I'm a longtime user of the 'Darknet' (started in the final days of dialup BBSs) but I'm making a concerted effort to become more legit. I really don't mind paying for stuff, but the idea of double paying for books is irritating.
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:28 PM   #11
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I Am Not A Lawyer...
Xenophon
Thanks, Xeno. That was very clear and concise. Which is how we know you're not a lawyer .

You shall get some Karma for that.

I mean, for explaining it, not for being a non-lawyer. Well, maybe for both.

Maria
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:26 AM   #12
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I have not "replaced" any of my paper books, though I do by now own a large collection of them in ebook format (meaning, I have both). Some of the ebooks I've bought, others I've downloaded and a few I've scanned myself.
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Old 08-25-2010, 03:32 AM   #13
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That was very helpful Xenophon.

I'm a longtime user of the 'Darknet' (started in the final days of dialup BBSs) but I'm making a concerted effort to become more legit. I really don't mind paying for stuff, but the idea of double paying for books is irritating.
Do you think that buying a hardback book gives you the right to a free paperback? The argument that buying a paper book gives you the right to a free eBook completely eludes me, I'm afraid!
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:09 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by hpjrt View Post
Scanning a complete book is definitely not legal. The copyright page of the book contains the phrase that "reproduction in part or in whole" ... or something to that effect.

So ... either way you look at it, reproducing a book without permission is illegal ... the ethics you have to figure out yourself.

Mary
Which is complete and utter crap.

As reproducing parts of books is absolutely legal in many circumstances, depending on length.

So those statements are lies to start with when given in that manner.
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:35 AM   #15
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Do you think that buying a hardback book gives you the right to a free paperback? The argument that buying a paper book gives you the right to a free eBook completely eludes me, I'm afraid!
Without taking sides on the issue of getting an illegal digital copy of a book you already own (as a writer myself, I don't want to get into the whole question), you are comparing two different things. In the situation you suggest, you are not just obtaining a new format of the book, you are physically stealing something (i.e. the paperback book).

However, if you own a hardcover book, but you'd like a second copy that you don't mind taking with you to the beach, (because it's one of those heavy textbooks which costs hundreds of dollars and you don't want to risk water splashing all over it), legally, you would have the right to photocopy the book and take the photocopy with you to the beach and you then have a paperback copy of your book. Of course, the fact that it may well cost more to make the photocopies than to purchase a second copy in paperback deters most people from doing that (again, unless it's one of those ridiculously expensive textbooks which costs hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to begin with), but it is perfectly legal to do since it falls within the "fair use" parameters.

Eric
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