Subject: Re: Copyright theft? ( 3 of 6 )
Posted by Tony Fabris
The argument "I'm not really stealing because I wouldn't have bought
it anyway" is interesting, because it's the same argument that
software and music pirates use to defend themselves.
The recent hubub over the .MP3 audio format is a rehashing of the
same argument. It doesn't matter what the medium is: Books, audio,
software, etc... they're all copyrighted works, and unauthorized
duplication is piracy. The only time duplication is legal is when you
make a copy for your own personal use. For example, making a cassette
copy of a record album so you can listen to it in your car. Or turning
your CD's into MP3's so you can listen to them on your new Rio player.
The line from personal use to piracy is crossed when you own a duplicate
of something you didn't purchase from the publisher yourself.
In the case of the school making copies of textbooks, I'd bet that it's
still piracy, and the textbook publishers would be unhappy. In the case
of the photocopy of Restaurant, it's definitely piracy if the book doesn't
belong to the person making the copy. What I don't understand is why
someone thinks that their time spent photocopying a book is somehow
not valuable. I'd rather spend five bucks on a paperback than waste my
precious time babysitting a cranky photocopier.
(Of course, Douglas' works are best read in hardback form. I have a
wonderfully-bound gold-leafed anthology of his works that's one of my
The interesting part is how the pirates attempt to rationalize piracy with
that silly argument:
The publishers say: "Every single instance of piracy is lost revenue.
By those figures, our industry loses billions of dollars each year to
The pirates say: "But we wouldn't have bought the product to begin
with. So you're really not losing any money, but you're still gaining
As with all two-sided stories, the truth actually lies somewhere in
the middle. In the absence of a pirated copy, some folks would
make the purchase. Others would not. No one knows for sure how