Downloading ebook after buying the physical version

This is my first time posting. I’m not sure this belongs in this section.

I bought a physical book. This is a used textbook. It is a big book, I get tired of carrying it around and I don’t have much room for books were I live either. So I downloaded the digital version from a torrent. Since I own the physical copy is this stealing? Is it moral? I have already been to confession just in case.

I have a couple of justifications for this. First is that a book is similar to a CD. When I buy a used CD I can make a digital version of it for use on my phone. I could cut the binding off the book and scan it in. This would get me a digital copy of the book. Instead of doing this my self I can go online and someone has done it for me.

Secondly, as a student I will often buy the second from last edition to save money. The information in it is basically the same as the most resent version but they scramble the sections, chapters or problems in the newer version. You can usually find these editions for sale used. But they rarely continue selling the digital version of the book. So I couldn’t get the digital copy if I wanted to.

My third justification is that it is impossible to by a used ebooks. They are only ever sold at full retail price. It would seem unfair that physical and digital copies are treated different. So buying a used copy of the book and then downloading a digital copy is kind of like buying a used ebook version.

Sorry if I seem rather declarative. It was not my intention. I’d rather do what is right and follow our Lord then continue reading these books if it is immoral.

Thanks for your replies in advance.

The trouble with torrents is that they take money out of the pocket of not just movie stars (for films) or famous authors (books), but for hard working people who make their living in those industries, and their jobs and pay depend on legitimate sales.

Do what you think is right.

KFC, I don’t know much about Torrent, but if you downloaded it for free when it normally would cost you money, that is generally considered stealing.

The fact that you are trying to justify it to yourself is a good indication that you recognize something is wrong.

Illegal downloads don’t just cost the publisher or the author money. They cost the hard working employees all along the supply chain from those who produce the raw materials, to the printers and binders, to the people who ship the items, to the people who work in the stores to stock and sell the item. That’s why books are often cheaper online than in store. Less overhead.

So when you download the e-version you are stealing from people making minimum wage trying to put themselves through school or feed a family. If the stores can’t make money, they stop hiring and start firing until they reach a point where they either can’t fire any more people and still operate, or until they’re back within the expected profit margin.

As to your justifications, first of all the CD analogy is false. Whenever you purchase media (books, movies, CDs, software) you are actually buying a license to use the product. These are not unlimited.

For example you can show a movie in your home as often as you want, but it is illegal for you to advertise a showing and collect money. You technically can’t even show that movie in a church auditorium for free without written permission.

The same is true of your textbook. You purchased a license to use it, but you cannot re-publish it without permission. Every time you make a photocopy of its pages your are using an educational exception. Without this exception it would be technically illegal to make photocopies.

For your second and third justifications, ebook formats are generally cheaper to begin with, and some books can be “rented” or otherwise shared among different users. It all depends on what the publisher has decided to allow. If you’re really interested in saving money in the future I recommend going to Barnes and Noble and speaking with one of their Nook specialists. Their tablets are less expensive than other major brands, and I know they have apps specifically designed for textbooks in addition to whatever textbooks you find in their ebook store or through Amazon (the Kindle app works on Nook even though Nook’s app doesn’t work on Kindle. Both work on iPad).

I am a published author and I would have no problem with you downloading an e copy of one of my books you had already paid for in hard copy if it made it easier for you to carry around, say on holiday…

:eek:Read here… one view:
NY Times: The Ethicist - E-Book Dodge - By RANDY COHEN
Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you’ve violated the publishing company’s legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you’ve done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability.

Unsurprisingly, many in the book business take a harder line. My friend Jamie Raab, the publisher of Grand Central Publishing and an executive vice president of the Hachette Book Group, says: “Anyone who downloads a pirated e-book has, in effect, stolen the intellectual property of an author and publisher. To condone this is to condone theft.”

Yet it is a curious sort of theft that involves actually paying for a book. Publishers do delay the release of e-books to encourage hardcover sales — a process called “windowing” — so it is difficult to see you as piratical for actually buying the book ($35 list price, $20 from Amazon) rather than waiting for the $9.99 Kindle edition.

(oh, and BTW: the hard cord copyrightist would view the above as theft, even though it is only a small section, clearly cited, and used for an academic discussion; thus, clearly within the fair-use clause… :eek: )

Check the front of your hardcopy for the copyrights, this is the only way you can tell.

Torrent download, once again, check the copyright entry. Personally, I stay away from such downloads as over the years the number of PC’s I’ve helped to fix from virus/malware obtained via such downloads is in itself enough of a deterrent.

If you had scanned the book, this might fall under the general, one copy archive. You either use the book, or use the electronic copy. In this case, you didn’t do the work which technically would void such an exception even if it is in the copyright statement.

I have often found that the publisher has an electronic copy available for those that have the hardbound. Check their website or send them an email. Sometimes, for a reasonable fee, they may even send you permission to scan the book for your own use.

Take it to confession.

It is definitely not stealing. Lots of folks want to say that is so but it isn’t. You did not deprive anyone of their property. You may have violated civil law. That could be a sin but so is speeding even slightly. Personally I wouldn’t be too concerned with it but you need to follow your conscience. If things are unchanged since when I was in school I think the textbook industry itself is far more of a crime with its high priced books that are constantly slightly revised or replaced.

Bravo! It is not a question of morals but of ethics. The question should be, is it ethical to download this version of the book after I have already purchased a hard copy? In my opinion, the answer is “yes.” To steal means to intentionally take something that rightfully belongs to another. That is not the case here. It is all about your intentions.

Downloading from torrents or P2P is not a sin at all. After all, the file was originally put into circulation by someone who purchased the song, book, movie etc. legally, and decided to share it. Sharing is a charitable act that is encouraged by all Abrahamic faiths. And though I realize that computers and the Internet didn’t exist when the Bible was written, there would have been some sin analogous to file-sharing mentioned as a sin, if, indeed, it were one. So relax. :slight_smile:

Show me anything in scripture which indicates that. Like I said in an earlier post, the file originated with someone who purchased the item and decided to share it. Scripture considers theft the unlawful appropriation of some tangible item, like money, livestock, etc.

So if someone purchased something and decided to share it when they didn’t have a legal right to do so, that’s not “unlawful appropriation of some tangible item”?

As I said before, when you purchase media you are generally purchasing a limited-use copyright. You do not have the unlimited right to show a movie you bought at the store last week, for example. You can watch it all you want in the privacy of your home. You can have free movie nights with friends. But the second you start advertising or charging admission you are committing a crime.

The same is true of audio files. I have about 30 GB of music in iTunes right now. I can listen to it and make cd’s all I want for my private use. I cannot hook my computer up to a professional sound system and play that music as a DJ at events on college campuses. I don’t have a license agreement to do so even though I own those files.

It seems appropriate to consider textbooks in this same way. What the person on torrent did was purchase a limited-use agreement when buying the textbook. They then reproduced that book in violation of copyright law and shared it with others.

Now as to the OP’s role, I do believe what was done can be considered sinful. I do NOT believe it rises to the level of mortal sin. Therefore, if KFC has received the Eucharist since then it is forgiven and done with.

There’s sometimes a difference between crime and sin. Downloading may be a venial sin insofar as it’s a violation of civil law, which the NT would prefer we obey. But it’s not a mortal sin, insofar as it doesn’t violate a commandment.

The owner of the copyright decides how the work is licensed. If they say that buying the work in one medium gives you rights to the work in other media, you have rights in other media. If not, you are stealing a licensed work.

if the author wanted you to have rights to the ebook you could get it from their own site, right?

Posted from Catholic.com App for Android

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.