e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"



Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    86

    Default e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    I was just wondering what everyone thought about the ethics of "giving away" e-books or "loaning" e-books. First let me define what I mean by "giving away" and "loaning."

    By "giving away," I mean you read it, you're done with it, you'll never read it again, so you send a copy to *one* person, and then delete your copy from all locations you have it stored, so in essence, you no longer have a copy, but your friend does - similar to giving your friend your copy of a DTB when you're done with it.

    By "loaning," I mean you send a copy to one person, and when they're done reading it, they delete it completely from their machine(s). You retain your copy, but your friend only has it for a limited time - similar to loaning a DTB. I know B&N lets you do this with certain books, but I'm talking about with any old e-book that you have, not necessarily from one Nook to another with the Lend Me feature.

    Both of these are illegal to do (barring the legal "Lend Me" function), but are they unethical? Granted, DRM prevents you from doing these things for the most part, but if you could easily do these things, would it be wrong to do so? You aren't really multiplying the number of legally purchased copies, and no one bats an eye if someone does the same thing with a DTB.

  2. Remove Advertisements
    B&N Nook Forum
    Advertisements
     

  3. #2
    Tom Sawyer
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    127

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    In my opinion - I paid for it I should be able to resell it, or give it away. I understand that makes it hard for "the man" to make sure that I don't sell multiple copies... but technically I could make copies of my paper books with a scanner...

    Also - technically I could let my wife (and probably will on occasion) use my nook to read a book. Why is that different than just letting me put my book on her nook (if she had one).

    As a software developer - I totally understand both sides of the argument. People need to get paid for what they produce ---- but people should also be able to do what they want to with something they paid for.


  4. #3
    d'Artagnan
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    751

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    First off, I'm an "amateur" writer myself, and would love to someday have my works published. Just had to get that out of the way.

    Secondly, this is the one topic I just cannot bother to get myself worked up over, no matter how hard I consider it. Authors and Publishers have been missing out on an entire slew of royalties since the dawn of the written word by way of loaning and resale. I honestly see ebook sharing as no different, even when you consider that it's probably done in mass quantities.

    Used bookstores exist solely on profiting from the selling of books that they got at an extremely reduced rate, or even for free by donation. Why is it okay for them to profit from selling books, but loaning and sharing is considered to be so dastardly?

    I understand that the ramifications from loaning and sharing ebooks are immediate, and thus more of a concern for the publishing industry. The Used retail market is like slowly removing a bandaid, while file sharing is ripping it off in one quick swoop. It hurts worse, but the end result is probably the same.
    In the end, the author still gets shafted and misses out on potential revenue from his/her works.

    I think about all of the books I've given away over the years, and when I see old copies of the Baby Sitters Club, A Wrinkle in Time, Judy Blume series, Sweet Valley High, or any of the other books I loved as a teen popping up on Ebay or any of the online retailers, I stop for a moment and wonder if those books used to belong to me, and how many times they must have been recycled. Over a span of 20 years or so? Too many to count, I'm sure.
    Currently Reading:
    A Song of Ice and Fire Series

    Next up:
    The Entire Oz Series

  5. Remove Advertisements
    B&N Nook Forum
    Advertisements
     

  6. #4
    Moderator DeCrescenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,165

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    I don't see how reselling an item I legally bought to someone when I'm done with it is "shafting" the author. Just to make a point, I am also an "amateur" author (VERY amateur mind you, but I'm working on it). I plan on publishing someday as well. If someone enjoys my work and lends it, and that person likes its, now I have two fans instead of one and when I publish anything in the future I'm have a new person buying it. I borrowed the first Harry Potter book and I can tell you that Ms. Rowlings has gotten a lot of my money in the years that followed that, including buying a copy of the initial borrowed book so I can have the complete set. Her sales went up because of the borrowed book.

    Think of it this way, if I lend my car to a friend who doesn't have one, am I shafting a rental car company? If I sell my car to him are we shafting GM? Once an item is purchased, it is (morally, if not legally) yours. You own it (Life, Liberty and Property, were pretty important to a group of people a few hundred years ago). You should be able to dispose of it as you see fit.
    www.twitter.com/decrescenzo

    'The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.' - Ayn Rand

  7. #5
    Puck
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    271

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    Very interesting question.
    Over the years I have never felt guilty about selling or giving away books or buying books at a used book store or even a yard sale. But now in the digital world I am supposed to be concerned about it?
    If I have a copy of say a book or an Lp or even a movie, that I paid for in what ever format, and want to share it with a friend then I will do it.
    Stupid technology it upset the whole apple cart!
    Living in my own Private Idaho...

  8. #6
    d'Artagnan
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    751

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    Quote Originally Posted by DeCrescenzo
    I don't see how reselling an item I legally bought to someone when I'm done with it is "shafting" the author. Just to make a point, I am also an "amateur" author (VERY amateur mind you, but I'm working on it). I plan on publishing someday as well. If someone enjoys my work and lends it, and that person likes its, now I have two fans instead of one and when I publish anything in the future I'm have a new person buying it. I borrowed the first Harry Potter book and I can tell you that Ms. Rowlings has gotten a lot of my money in the years that followed that, including buying a copy of the initial borrowed book so I can have the complete set. Her sales went up because of the borrowed book.

    Think of it this way, if I lend my car to a friend who doesn't have one, am I shafting a rental car company? If I sell my car to him are we shafting GM? Once an item is purchased, it is (morally, if not legally) yours. You own it (Life, Liberty and Property, were pretty important to a group of people a few hundred years ago). You should be able to dispose of it as you see fit.
    I agree with you, but when I used the term "shafting", I was using a term that publishers and published authors have used in the past when arguing against ebook lending, and even dbt lending. I don't think they're getting the shaft at all.
    Currently Reading:
    A Song of Ice and Fire Series

    Next up:
    The Entire Oz Series

  9. #7
    Puck
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    303

    Default Re: e-books and ethics vs. legality beyond "pirating"

    There's a big problem with the question you're asking, and it's that giving or loaning an ebook to a friend is in no way illegal. Laws covering this sort of thing make it clear that if you own an item you have the full legal right to transfer ownership of that item to someone else. You also have every right to allow someone else to use that item for any amount of time you want.

    Where we start to go into illegality is with the copy protection. The DMCA dictated that if a publisher places any kind of DRM on content it's illegal to bypass or remove it. The specifics of the law don't stop you from giving away the book, even though the side effects of it make the act impossible. As an example in the physical world it's like the publisher mounted the book inside a locked chest and gave you the only key. The law still can't stop you from giving or loaning the book to a friend. However the DMCA says you can't unmount the book or copy or give your friend the key to it. So by adding DRM to an ebook, a publisher can't stop you from giving it to a friend, but can make it impossible for them to read (legally).

    So I think giving/loaning ebooks is going to be no different that giving/loaning DTBs from an ethical standpoint. Because if you have a legally purchased, DRM-free ebook your rights concerning giving that file to a friend are no different than if you had a DTB. The real ethical question (and the legal ones) seems to rest in breaking the DRM in order to give the book to someone else. On that, I'd say it's ethical to break the DRM because publishers (in general) have knowingly implemented a system that prohibits legal acts, and have flatly refused to correct it.

Similar Threads

  1. MOVED: Entering "Overview" or "Description" for Nook Book
    By sunshinejenn03 in forum original nook
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-05-2011, 06:44 PM
  2. Entering "Overview" or "Description" for Nook Book
    By Eowyn Wood in forum Author nook
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-13-2011, 01:09 PM
  3. The Curse of "Network Unavailable" or "Error c6120"
    By javacafe in forum nook Discussions
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-31-2011, 09:46 PM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-08-2011, 10:43 AM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-04-2010, 02:41 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.1.0