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Is it Illegal To Download A Pirated E-Book If You Own The Hard Copy?

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With all of the e-readers coming out and users wanting more e-books some are turning to piracy. Here is the ethical question if you own the book in hard back is it illegal to download a pirated version of it in e-book form? I mean lets think about this what really is pirating? True pirating is downloading something you didn't pay for. So you didn't pay for the ebook did you pirate? Or did you meet your legal obligation by paying the publisher and the author when you purchased their work? Should it matter that you purchased it in a different format? Well here is what The Ethisist for the NY Times had to say:

"An illegal download is — to use an ugly word — illegal. But in this case, it is not unethical. Author and publisher are entitled to be paid for their work, and by purchasing the hardcover, you did so. Your subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.

Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you’ve violated the publishing company’s legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you’ve done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability."

So basically its like a cat and mouse game until the laws catch up. Part of the other problem I see is that publishers like to play the "windowing" game. You know where they release a book in hard back form on one date and make you wait for a while till it comes out in other formats. So while you wait you purchase the hardback book for more money. Alot of times you can find pirated copies of books online before the publisher comes out with them. So you buy the hard copy then you download the pirated one, but are you breaking the law? I think for now until the laws catch up its a matter of who you ask. So bottom line until a case is heard its a 50/50 chance that you are ok or a pirate.

So what are your thoughts?

I Averaged: 4 | 1 vote


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Re: Is it Illegal To Download A Pirated E-Book If You Own ...

Yes it's illegal but like the guy in the article says it's not completely unethical. You did after all purchase it so you have the right to consume the media however you wish. However in the article he compares it to ripping a CD. It's not the same. You rip the physical media you bought but with a download you are downloading someone else's work who spent the time converting, ripping, etc. If the person(s) who did said ripping is the publisher you are still stealing their work. To make that argument you would have to say that if you own the book just copy it to pdf yourself. Then it's the same as ripping a cd. A more fair comparison would be if you own a record and download a digital copy instead of connecting the record player to a computer, playing each track from the record while using recording software to record each song.

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