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Downloading DRM-protected E-books

black_88
Posts: 14
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8/5/2014 4:09:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Hello everybody,

First of all, I want to say that I was hoping to find some "Ethics" section to post this thread in, but since I didn't find that, and since Ethics is generally accepted as a branch of philosophy, I thought this would be a good place to start the discussion on the topic.

So, what do you think of downloading DRM-protected ebooks for free (from torrent websites, warez websites etc., also known as illegal downloads)?

For those of you who are not sure what DRM-protected means, it stands for Digital Rights Management, and basically refers to the fact that the book has a standing copyright, and this means that you have to buy it from the copyright holder (usually some publisher). DRM protection is a sort of "digital lock" that ensures the book (in the form of a digital file) will be used in accordance with the copyright statement. The reason it exists is that, unlike physical books (paper books), digital books or ebooks are easy to manipulate. Copying, redistribution, editing or even selling unlimited copies of an ebook is much simpler than doing the same with a physical book, hence the need for DRM. However, with some technical skills, this "lock" can be broken and the book made free, as if no copyright exists for using it.

People who do break DRM protection usually share the resulting DRM-free ebooks with others via the internet. I've run into some downloads of "A Song of Ice and Fire - The Complete Series", "Pulitzer Prize Winners 1918 - 2013" and "New York Bestsellers June 2014".

I can think of two arguments:

Should be prohibited; the authors are working hard to produce these works and they should be paid. Also, DRM-protection is the copyright protection mechanism in the digital world, and copyright law is in effect in most countries, hence these downloads are simply breaking the law, which in and of itself is wrong. We should abide by the existing laws or, if they seem unfair, change them through legitimate channels (like petitions etc.), and not break them while they are in effect - otherwise why do we even have laws?

Should be allowed; the whole system of book distribution is flawed. Authors have hard time finding publishers willing to publish their books; publishers have rules that are shaped by market needs, not people's needs for knowledge and culture; the very existence of the job "Author" is alarming - people should write books as a way to reach for others and spread their ideas, not as way to make money, and when anyone writes for money in a business like manner and deadlines and marketing campaigns and what not, the results could be predicted to be of lower quality than the works produced by sincere writers who write for sharing knowledge and ideas, and not to make money. The whole system should be changed, and since copyright laws can't be taken out of effect (because they are beneficial to capitalists who have the power to have them remain in effect), the only way to change the current situation is by forcibly breaking the DRM locks so that publishers and "authors" alike have to find other, better ways of writing and distributing books.

I personally think they should be allowed. What do you think? If this turns out to be a heated discussion, maybe a debate could be started to better illustrate the pros and cons to this issue.

Thanks for participating :)
"We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
black_88
Posts: 14
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8/9/2014 4:59:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/9/2014 4:18:13 PM, ArcTImes wrote:
Ahoy, I reckon they best be allowed.
Download them ebooks.
Arghhh!!

Ahoy, me hearty! Your opinion be welcome on this ship.
"We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe