As the title says: I have managed to strip Copy-protection from some recently-purchased books so that I could convert them into another format. Have I sinned?
If you are reformatting them for your own use, no. If you are distributing copies to others, then the answer is probably yes.
2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others.190
2409 Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another.191
The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.
So, in basic English: even if I’m doing so for my own private use, it’s illegal/immoral?
To be honest, I thought of stealing hotel towels or pencils from the office.
If I understand this correctly, I would say it is OK aslong as it is for your personal private use. Of course this is just my opinion, and I am no expert here. But if you bought the ebook and paid for it, I don’t see why it would be unethical change the format of the book to suit your needs, as long as it is for your personal use. I suppose it could be illegal to do so, and my guess is that it would be wrong and illegal to go to a flea market and sell copies of the ebook.
One time I needed a technical book on solid state physics and it was out of print, but the library had a copy of it. I contacted the publisher and asked them if it was OK for me to make a Xerox copy. They said yes it was OK for me to make ONE copy for my personal use only, and sent me a paper to sign. But if I wanted extra copies, even for my personal use, they would expect me to pay $2.50 for each extra copy. However, I only needed the one copy of the book.
I have been told my my priest during Confession that I have not committed sin, that it is alright for me to convert the books into another format so as to read them elsewhere.