What about taking a xerox of a textbook?


#1

I have two questions.

  1. Is taking xerox copy of a medical textbook a sin? Most of the medical textbooks costs to much and students from developing countries find it difficult to buy all books. Is it okay to take a photocopy of it for studying?

  2. What about taking photocopies of a few pages from library? It is legally permissible to hand write notes from a textbook. It would not be different if a few pages is copied by writing by hand. Then how comes it's a sin if a machine, say xerox machine, is used to copy it?


#2

[quote="Johnpeter073, post:1, topic:342423"]
I have two questions.

  1. Is taking xerox copy of a medical textbook a sin? Most of the medical textbooks costs to much and students from developing countries find it difficult to buy all books. Is it okay to take a photocopy of it for studying?

  2. What about taking photocopies of a few pages from library? It is legally permissible to hand write notes from a textbook. It would not be different if a few pages is copied by writing by hand. Then how comes it's a sin if a machine, say xerox machine, is used to copy it?

[/quote]

I always thought photocopying a few pages of a textbook from a library for scholastic purposes fell under fair use. :shrug: I wouldn't advocate photocopying the whole thing, though!


#3

[quote="Joe_5859, post:2, topic:342423"]
I always thought photocopying a few pages of a textbook from a library for scholastic purposes fell under fair use. :shrug: I wouldn't advocate photocopying the whole thing, though!

[/quote]

I agree. I had college professors who would do it themselves - pick a bunch of passages from some of their books, photocopy them and stick them together, and then send them to our campus printshop. Those became our "textbooks."

In graduate school, professors scanned in selections from textbooks for us to either read online or print out to read. In those cases, they went against our printing quota for the semester, but at least we weren't paying for all of those books!


#4

[quote="Johnpeter073, post:1, topic:342423"]
I have two questions.

  1. Is taking xerox copy of a medical textbook a sin? Most of the medical textbooks costs to much and students from developing countries find it difficult to buy all books. Is it okay to take a photocopy of it for studying?

  2. What about taking photocopies of a few pages from library? It is legally permissible to hand write notes from a textbook. It would not be different if a few pages is copied by writing by hand. Then how comes it's a sin if a machine, say xerox machine, is used to copy it?

[/quote]

1) You can't copy the whole book. Perhaps a few people could share one.

2) Photocopies of a few pages are OK, like using a copier in a library.

Peace,
Ed


#5

I don’t know about it being a sin, but to copy an entire work would be in breech of copyright.

What you’re suggesting is depriving the author and publisher of the medical textbook their rightful dues, since they created the work, and you’re suggesting simply copying it and using it without permission and without paying.

Whatever about being sinful, it’s definitely unethical and possibly criminal.

Under Fair Use it is permissible to copy small portions of a work for educational, among other, purposes, and you’ll sometimes hear a figure of up to 10% being used but there’s no basis for this.

The only way to find out how much of a work can be copied for educational purposes is to contact the copyright owner.

Sarah x :slight_smile:


#6

Find it on line and print it out. If they do not allow it they have the ability to do so blocked.

Most let you print a page or two.


#7

regarding number 1) I think it would depend on WHY you are copying the whole book. Doing it for backup? OK.

Doing to to cheat the system? Sin.

Doing it because you are too poor to afford the book? Depends.. are you spending money else where which is not needed which you could use to by the book if you had better self-control? Or are you truly too poor? Did you seek legal methods of financial help to receive a legal copy? I feel there can be a gray area when you are too poor depending on circumstances, motivation, and what's in your heart.

Regarding number 2) that's fine

Good luck and God Bless.


#8

The DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) generally a very onorous and legalistic text allows the fair use explicitly for education so you are good there.


#9

[quote="Johnpeter073, post:1, topic:342423"]
I have two questions.

  1. Is taking xerox copy of a medical textbook a sin? Most of the medical textbooks costs to much and students from developing countries find it difficult to buy all books. Is it okay to take a photocopy of it for studying?

  2. What about taking photocopies of a few pages from library? It is legally permissible to hand write notes from a textbook. It would not be different if a few pages is copied by writing by hand. Then how comes it's a sin if a machine, say xerox machine, is used to copy it?

[/quote]

Copy portions of textbooks (not all pages) is not a violation of any copyrights.


#10

If u borrow a book and return it in same condition, if you photocopy each page 10 times each, I see no sin in that.


#11

[quote="blaskoman, post:10, topic:342423"]
If u borrow a book and return it in same condition, if you photocopy each page 10 times each, I see no sin in that.

[/quote]

That is stealing. Nothing less.

Peace,
Ed


#12

If you think about it, the same arguments you are using to justify copying a textbook are the same exact ones people use for stealing movies and music through illegal downloads.

You may not like the cost of a textbook, but it is intellectual property.

One question you may want to ask yourself, 'What if everyone did that ?'

This will help you to measure the morality of decisions you make in a more objective manner.


#13

Back when I was in college, many international students from e.g. India reported being able to buy exactly the same textbooks (albeit perhaps in paperback or lower quality printing) for ~1/10 the cost back in their home country vs from the campus bookstore. It was the pricing offered by the publisher, and there is an economic term for this, I forget, when you offer the same product at different prices to maximize your market share. But there were also legal restrictions on importing those discount textbooks back into the US, specifically to prevent you from reselling it at a higher price but less than the US price.

I suspect that the photocopying of textbook chapters by professors for distribution to a class as part of required reading is a highly abused practice, and that publishers (if they were aware of it) would be within their rights to demand payment of some sort. In many cases if you want a single chapter from, for example, a scientific textbook, you can purchase it online from the publisher for prices ranging from $10-40, and for distribution to a class they would expect some sort of per copy charge (different from the cost of photocopying that the campus print shop would charge back in the day... is there still such a thing??)

The one time I recall engaging in copying big chunks of textbooks is when the book was out of print and I got it via interlibrary loan and only had a few weeks before I had to return it. It was probably still illegal to do so.


#14

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.