The Ethics of Illegal Downloads

By posted at 11:37 am on April 4, 2010 3

None other than Randy Cohen, “The Ethicist” of the New York Times, has decided that illegally downloading an e-book version of a book for which you’ve already paid full price in hardcover is “not unethical… subsequent downloading is akin to buying a CD, then copying it to your iPod.” He adds, “Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology.”

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3 Responses to “The Ethics of Illegal Downloads”

  1. Michael
    at 1:23 pm on April 4, 2010

    He’s right. E-publishing may never make paper publishing completely extinct (I happily envision a boutique market for real books, even when publishing is primarily digital, with something akin to prescient nostalgia), but every three-dimensional, dust-catching, bound and beautiful book should include a link to a free, one-time download of same.

  2. Tom B.
    at 4:18 pm on April 4, 2010

    A number of recording artists are making free digital downloads available if one buys their CD. It shouldn’t be a problem for the book business to follow suit.

  3. Wednesday Links: 4-7-10 | Chamber Four
    at 11:40 am on July 16, 2014

    […] “piracy” is such a sexy word it makes people want to pirate. The ethicist at the NYT says you can steal a copy of an ebook you previously bought—counterpoint. Despite the ethicist, IsoHunt will […]

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