Monday, January 25, 2010

Another book thief

This is really more a teaser than anything else, but I just read a very interesting article over at The Millions (hat tip, GalleyCat) about eBook pirating.

In truth, I think it is clear that morally, the act of pirating a product is, in
fact, the moral equivalent of stealing… although that nagging question of what
the person who has been stolen from is missing still lingers. Realistically and
financially, however, I feel the impact of e-piracy is overrated, at least in
terms of ebooks.

It's a fascinating interview, if only because I don't agree with everything the anonymous uploader says. The interviewee compares eBooks to movies and music, looks at who uploaders are, reasons for downloading pirated eBooks, and more. I've been thinking quite a bit about this topic over the last week and this was a timely and interesting find.


  1. I agree with you, both that it was fascinating and that not everyone would agree with everything the anonymous uploader has to say.

    Taking something that is not yours is stealing. Full stop. Any variation on this is nothing more than an attempt to justify a selfish act. Any educated person should be embarrassed to say, "Well, other people are doing it..."

    It's true that an author is only going to make money on a given book, virtual or paper, the first time it's sold. Maybe there isn't much technical difference, as far as the author's financial benefit, between reading a used paperback or library book or browsing in a bookstore versus downloading a pirated e-book. E-book piracy is worse because the books can spread so much farther and faster.

    The only justifiable reason I could think of to use e-text in an unauthorized way would be to buy a book in one format and hack it into another, if that was the only way to read it on your particular e-reader.

  2. Jessica, I actually disagree with his harshness regarding the "stealing" bit. I'll explain my whole views on the matter fully later this week (hopefully; I'm having some trouble wording my sentiments properly), but I actually think there's quite a bit of legitimacy to downloading eBooks freely. And it actually isn't spreading at all, yanking money from the mouths of authors. I'll obviously go into more detail in the full post, but I thought you should know in advance that I'm coming out as a major book thief myself (theoretically). I expect the resulting arguments to be most interesting, like this one here.


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