janet - 3-10-2008 at 13:05
I often buy books from Amazon re-sellers. If I can buy a book for 0.01 +pp, I'm almost certainly going to do that, rather than paying full price.
I'm also ethically opposed to illegal downloads, etc. - the worker is worthy of their wage, etc. (And yes, I'm happy if lots and lots of people
read my published stuff but I'm also happy when they buy the publications!).
So - is buying second hand books any ethically different from a scanned and uploaded copy? I know one is legal and the other is not, but assume that
someone has legally purchased a book, then scanned it and uploaded it - is it *ethically* any different to buy a second hand book, than it is to
download the copy?
(I'm not suggesting people download illegal copies, I'm wondering about the second hand issue!).
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 13:07
But you can get it from the library for free so how can it be bad? I get a lot of my books from book sales and often buy from second hand book shops.
What wonderful places they are!
But I do buy an equal number of new books too.
I like reading.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 13:09
None of which answers the question I posed.
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 13:14
Oops! Quite right. Fair cop.
In fact, it is quite a good question.
What first comes to mind, is that I have loads of books at home that I might some day want to offload. Now, I could take them to a charity shop or I
could sell them on ebay - well, I could if I knew* how.
But, that is different to deliberately scanning them in and uploading them with the pure intention of making money rather than making room for more
*typing correction. How embarassing.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 13:22
But what about scanning them in to distribute freely?
The author is no worse off...?
the bear - 3-10-2008 at 13:33
But neither does he get his just rewards.
Regards the Bear
janet - 3-10-2008 at 13:35
No - but then, he/she doesn't with second hand sales, either.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 13:49
Don't forget authors get a return from library lendings.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 13:52
Do they? Wow.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 14:05
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 14:12
Ok, so what if I just lend you a book?
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 14:12
Or even give it to you for nothing?
janet - 3-10-2008 at 14:24
It's pretty much the same question.
I wasn't looking for more examples - I was looking to discuss the ethics involved.
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 14:32
It cant be unethical for me to give you a book. What if I wrap it up in Christmas paper first?
janet - 3-10-2008 at 14:33
WHY can't it be unethical?
I can think of a number of reasons it might be *entirely* unethical for you to give me a book.
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 14:33
Damn it Janet!
Hoist by my own petard!
I mentioned the "C" word. Its your fault. you led me into it.
Theravad - 3-10-2008 at 14:34
The book clearly states that the book shall not be copied etc.... and selling/buying it second hand does not infringe that whereas
I would call it an infringement of my rights if I could not sell on a book I had bought (reference books I keep for ever).
The point it that second hand books do not flood the market whereas illegal downloads do - ethically the latter deprives the author of their just
janet - 3-10-2008 at 14:35
Wry grin... tis what happens in ethical discussions.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 15:24
So whose rights come first ethically, the authors, the publishers or the purchasers?
I think the discussion shows the complete illogicality in the rights of any author to receive payment for a work they release to the public.
John_Little - 3-10-2008 at 16:02
And that is an interesting point too.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 16:06
But it's the way a lot of people make their living.
I don't make money from academic journal publications, but money from my books goes to a worthy charity - I'd rather not see that curtailed.
And for those whose livings depend on writing... why should we not pay for the service they provide?
marymary100 - 3-10-2008 at 16:13
Authors already got paid when I bought a copy of the book. Why should they get paid again when I give away the same copy? I'm not profitting from my
book being given away. The only person who is gaining anything is the person receiving the random act of kindness.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 16:15
But, the argument goes, you are preventing the author from receiving their dues on the sale that the person to whom you gave the book would otherwise
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 16:19
Sorry, I didn't make myself clear, I meant that it was wrong for the author to expect money from a book that was sold second hand
because they have made that copy available to the public.
DeWitch - 3-10-2008 at 16:32
I have received & given many gifts of books
is that unethical?
I hope not - but I do feel that scanned downloads are
marymary100 - 3-10-2008 at 16:38
That presumes that they would have bothered to buy the book at all if they hadn't had a free
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 16:43
Why do they deserve to have it if they aren't prepared to pay the author for it?
janet - 3-10-2008 at 16:48
Ah - ok, that makes sense to me.
TooCute4Words - 3-10-2008 at 17:01
I know what you mean.
A bargain is very hard to refuse. Ebay is the same, sellers choosing to start auctions at 0.01p hopefully to get two bidders to offer more and
subsequently get a better price.
Other sellers con buyers by overcharging on postage and packing, so be careful. I assume that Amazon deal with that better than Ebay does.
Sadly, ethics don't matter to many folk. If somebody can either save money and get it cheaper (for whatever reason) or get it free..they shall take -
If you are choosing to buy five books a week every week for 35 years of your life, you are going to need another house to place them all in
But not running towards exaggeration Even if it's less than that, many
choose to pass them on to new homes, whether it be a Charity shop, a Library, a friend, a book shop, etc.. After that, that book or books shall enter
the world of (second-hand) and somebody shall pay for that second hand book.
I say...(So what!!)
To sell a book which you have either enjoyed or not enjoyed and wish to give that book a new home rather than chucking it away can't possibly be
wrong or unethical.
Copying a book, pages from a book and selling them on for profit is illegal. But it happens all the time.
Just like Copyrighten images (let's not go there)
TooCute4Words - 3-10-2008 at 17:05
...Touch of sarcasm John?
Dreamweaver - 3-10-2008 at 17:13
I thought copyright isssues within the bookworld only counted for the original sale of the book, also any TV/Film and play rights.
The upload/download infringement is because your making it available for a mass public audience. Isn't it?
TooCute4Words - 3-10-2008 at 17:29
If I buy a book off Amazon/Ebay/Gemm and it's been out for 6 months, then I make a copy of the book and sell it on - I am breaking the law.
If I copy a portion of Eastenders tonight and then place it on Youtube, I am breaking the law (unless I am given permission by the owner)
At, least, thats what I thought
marymary100 - 3-10-2008 at 17:51
Because otherwise it
would just be trashed as I have no intention of keeping it and I suspect that most authors would prefer to be read than junked. Eh Janet?
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 18:03
So it's ethically Ok to give it to someone but not Ok to photocopy it and give the copy to someone?
marymary100 - 3-10-2008 at 18:09
I keep reference books but give away fiction so the act of copying just wouldn't enter the equation for me.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 18:14
How about hypothetically?
marymary100 - 3-10-2008 at 18:19
Even hypothetically I wouldn't copy it and btw don't make copies of movies, music etc either.
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 18:35
I can't understand why it's Ok to give the original copy but not Ok to give a copy.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 18:45
Wry grin - in some ways, yes, of course - though in my case, I'd REALLY like it if people bought new copies because the charity can always use more
However, it's not something I feel strongly about either way - it just occured to me as an interesting topic for discussion.
janet - 3-10-2008 at 18:46
Because the original will have been paid for and the copy, not?
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 19:46
But neither copy will have been paid for by the recipient, so what's the difference?
TooCute4Words - 3-10-2008 at 20:31
Badgergirl - 3-10-2008 at 21:33
Here's an odd one.
Given the possibility of selling a book second hand, (or an album for that matter)...how ethical is it for an unsigned band to cover a song?
I only ask because my brother was in a band called "The Covers" who sang, well, covers, and often got paid.
I know I'd be flattered if it was my song, but how ethical is it to sing someone else's words for money?
SRD - 3-10-2008 at 21:52
It depends on where they are singing, if the venue pays its dues to the Performing Rights Society then they are allowed to play
any songs they like. If they decide to rel;ease an album then they should request permission to use the material which is likely to involve some kind
Dreamweaver - 3-10-2008 at 21:58
Of course you are, that's because your copying it first.....
TooCute4Words - 3-10-2008 at 22:24
So your on about the person who receives it after me?
They won't be liable?
Like a stall holder in a market/car boot who sells copy dvd's of films that are still at the cinema.
The customer who buys them is not breaking the law, but the stall holder is, because he or she should know better?
Dreamweaver - 3-10-2008 at 23:47
Did I say that? I think not...Especially in the examples you give.
scholar - 4-10-2008 at 03:56
When a book is purchased, the payment for the book is good for that one copy, for the life of the book. One might think of it as a sort of contract.
It does not authorize any additional copies of the book, either photocopies, or electronically scanned for a computer file, or printed and bound on
machinery in your basement. The idea is that, under normal circumstances, the contract allows for a single person's use of the book at any one time.
If two are to use it at the same time, the author and publisher ought to be paid for two books. (Books for reading to small children are an
exception. One might consider the "contract" for them to include the read-to-them-on-your-lap exception.)
In the spirit of the contract, I believe it is OK to scan a book for the owner to read on his own computer (since he won't be looking at the physical
book and the computer screen at the same time). However, it would be cheating to keep it on the computer for your own use and also to give away the
physical book--it would be the use of two books when only one has been purchased.
Would you agree?
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 07:37
I'm not sure we're discussing what is contractually allowed, that is often a case of those with the best lawyers winning, but what is ethically
correct. As far as I can see; the loss of revenue to the author is what is at stake so any action that compromises the author's ability, whether it
be giving the original copy or taking a copy and giving that away has the same result, a lack of income to the author, so both should carry the same
approbrium (or lack of it).
marymary100 - 4-10-2008 at 09:34
As far as I'm concerned, the book is like a car. The manufacturer gets their huge profit from the initial sale. If the car is then given away or sold
on for less money the manufacturer has no claim on it as they already got their share. If it were possible to drive the car through some machine and
make a second copy of it though I'm sure the manufacturer would be jumping up and down for their cut - and that seems entirely reasonable to me as it
would not have existed in the first place without the initial version.
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 10:20
A couple of points:
So why should libraries have to pay the the lending rate? After all the book has been purchased by them. Similarly why should music venues pay extra
to play cds they have purchased?
Also, the car manufacturers have long lobbied for a percentage of the second hand sale money to go to them.
the bear - 4-10-2008 at 11:38
Pasing on a percentage of the sale price to an author when a copy of thier book changes hand would be albut impossible to implement because of the
varied sources of the books being given for sale.
I would ask though do these authors really need the revenue?
JK Rowling personal wealth £160 million ( accruing by 3 million per week.
James Patterson £ 26,7 million
Stephen King £24 million
Tom Clancy £ 18.7 millon
With such wealth would these authors begrudge any monies there works raised when sold through a charity shop out let. I would hope not!!
Regards the Bear
janet - 4-10-2008 at 11:42
And music venues also have to pay royalties on works *performed* in them, as well...
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 13:06
You are still being pragmatic whereas the topic is the ethics of doing these things.
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 13:11
Exactly, the use of
the music and/or the lyrics does provide an income for the author in that case, despite the fact that it is a copy of the original, rather than the
exact original being passed on, which also elicits a payment to the authors in the case of a music venue playing the cd. So why shouldn't authors
expect a payment for books being passed on?
marymary100 - 4-10-2008 at 14:15
I don't agree that authors or manufacturers deserve a second cut. The argument about libraries is, I suppose, that they mass lend
to other readers thereby affecting over the course of the lendability of the book many, many potential sales. I don't agree with public performance
payments as well but as each is written into the law I would continue to pay any necessary fees and try to amend the law by other means. My cousin
records ringtones in his spare time and sells them on but he has to keep a share of his profits for the people who wrote the original tunes. He has
jars with IOUs all over the place - apparently.
Badgergirl - 4-10-2008 at 14:48
I'd be happy to have a work published and have a nice heap of dosh from it, I'd also be happy to then see my book being taken to a counter in a
second hand/charity shop.
It would mean people like my work! It would also be immensley flattering to hear fan-fiction based on my work (if it was that sort of book), so long
as I was aknowledged as the creator and nobody was making money from it.
I don't understand Ann Rice though. She's a hugley popular writer, and when she wrote the Vampire Chronicles (she's turned her back on them now
she's reverted to Catholicism), her stories were just ASKING to be Fan-Ficed!
Anyone who has at least seen the movie Interview with a Vampire could tell the time-span of her stories and the vibrancy of her charaters are perfect
for authours who want to "fill in the gaps"
And yet Rice put out a statement that she would sue any website that hosted fan-fiction of her work, paid or unpaid.
It showed a huge disrespect for her fanbase in my opinion.
If you haven't had experience of fan-fic, they often include romances between characters, or alternative versions of the story, maybe even "high
school" settings for shows like Naruto or Dragon Ball. The Lord of the Rings community ("ringers") are almost an internet empire *hehe*
I'm writing adventures for Marcus and Esca from "The Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliffe.
Most writers with a concience will put an age rating and a disclaimer on thier work, aknowleging the original authour as owner of the characters they
have tinkered with!
the bear - 4-10-2008 at 14:55
Pragmatic? No, there is a relevant ethical connection here as to "if" much wants "more" and in doing so deprives people of the opportunity to
obtain a copy of a certain book for themselves.
Regards the Bear
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 15:18
I see, so you think that struggling authors ought to receive payment but wealthy ones shouldn't. If that is the case why should wealthy authors
receive any payment?
scholar - 4-10-2008 at 15:34
I am discussing what is ethically correct, and expressing it as like a contract. I am not saying
that one signs a contract which can be taken to court. I understand the U.S. copyright laws are formulated in such a way that the implied contract is
an accurate embodiment of the principles.
I see the ethical point as, is it defensible to break the laws under which the book is sold to you? I say no, the laws are like a EULA--if you don't
agree to abide by them, you shouldn't buy the book.
I don't think that quite works. Under that thinking, a
person who would not pay for the book could download a free, illicit copy--"Since I wouldn't buy it either way, the author isn't losing any
SRD - 4-10-2008 at 16:05
Not the way I read it I admit, but surely a contract still has little to do with ethics, a
contract is an agreement between two parties, one can quite legitimately have a contract between two people that one should murder someone else for a
fee, it doesn't make it ethically correct.
But are those
principles ethically correct?
Whereas I am referring to the ethicality, or lack of
it, in the original law.
Exactly, I fail to see the difference between receiving a free copy of a book as a gift from
someone who has already read that copy of the book and receiving an illegitimate copy of that book regardless of it's source.
scholar - 4-10-2008 at 19:13
When the book was originally
purchased, the purchaser paid for one person at a time to use the book for the life of the book. To abide by an agreement, to stay within the limits
of what one is allowed to do because the book has been purchased, is ethical (and it is also sanctioned by law--but, it would be ethical whether it
was sanctioned by law or not).
SRD - 5-10-2008 at 07:27
I still disagree and still think you are confusing obeying the law and
doing what is ethical. Is it ethical to carry out a contract that of itself turns out to be unethical once you have signed?
TooCute4Words - 6-10-2008 at 19:16
No, I was assuming that you meant,
"So your on about the person who receives it after me?
They won't be liable?"
Dreamweaver - 6-10-2008 at 19:24
I wasn't on about anything else except the original sale of the book. Your the one on about copying and selling.
TooCute4Words - 6-10-2008 at 19:38
Okay, I misunderstood