Should it be illegal to downoad books from the Internet?

We all know that the library is a veritable source of information from which one can get as much as they please in terms of books and knowledge acquired from those. A library lets you check out a book, completely free, and use it for a certain number of days. It has been an effective resource from which people can benefit.

With the advent of the internet, however, people can now have access to these books without even leaving their house, if they want to. If you download something from the internet, aren’t you essentially doing the same thing that you do in a library, anyways? You are taking a piece of literature, for free, so that you may use it. Granted, when you download it from the Internet, you don’t have to return it, but the core concept remains the same.

So my question is this: Should it really be illegal to download books from the internet?


9 thoughts on “Should it be illegal to downoad books from the Internet?

  1. While it is true the concepts are the same, the main difference is that in one scenario you can claim ownership of a purchased book and in the other you are neither borrowing nor do you own it. Unfortunately if you are in possession of something neither owned or borrowed that is stealing which is still ethically wrong although I do support the idea of getting books for free when most textbooks cost entirely too much.

  2. So the distinction here to be made is between legal borrowing and flat out theft. So, by that logic, downloading books from the internet should not be legal.

  3. Downloading books is not morally or ethically wrong in the least bit and the whole idea of intellectual properties is absurd and dangerous. One only needs to look at the pharmaceutical and bio medical corporations to see how further intellectual property rights can hurt us.

    Look at the company Monsanto who have been patenting the rights to genes.This is a ridiculous concept seeing as how they didn’t create anything, and further they don’t lose anything by its reproduction since the gene grows normally in crops. Recently however there was a case where a farmer had to have his crops destroyed because one of his neighboring farmers used genetically modified Monsanto crops. The plants, like all living, spread their genes through reproduction. So when the two separate crops fertilized each other the genes went with them. Some how Monsanto discovered that the one guy who didn’t buy the their seeds, had “their” genes in his crop, and thus had them destroyed.

    I think in this case you can see how ridiculous it really is. When you copy a digital item nothing is lost from the original owner. We define theft as “the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it”. In the case of intellectual property I do not harm you if I copy your book, unlike if I say stole your physical copy of it because now I’ve deprived you of it.

  4. I believe that there is a difference yoru legally downloading it and illegally downloading it because if you get a book from the library that book was paid your, typically by your county, but if you download it online and dont pay for it you are essentially stealing it, like you would be if you downloaded a song from the internet without paying for it. And besides most library systems now include an online database of books you can download to your computer or handheld device or e-reader, that it is essentailly the same where you have the book for a certian amount of time then it is automatically returned.

  5. I think you need to specify downloading books for free from the internet. If you download a book on your Kindle or Nook, you paid for it appropriately and thus it’s legal. If you just find the text of the book online and download it, then it is stealing and obviously illegal. The problem is that it costs authors a lot of money and time to put out one copy of their book, but subsequent copies are cheaper to produce. The same goes with software – it technically doesn’t cost much to deliver a new Xbox game after the first has been released. People know this, and that’s why they don’t see it as stealing. Walking into a store and stealing products people don’t do because you can’t just instantly make a copy of something the way you can with software or digital books.

  6. I think that this is similar to illegally downloading music. If you download it for free then it is illegal if you pay for it then it is your copy.

  7. I believe it is less illegal than downloading explicit content as long as the book is downloaded for the downloader’s sake only. The line that makes it illegal should be the purpose rather than means. When compared to the library though, the difference derives from the fact that when you take a book at the library and put it in your bag for further reading that is illegal. You have to put the book down rather than keeping it or distributing it .

  8. It’s an interesting question, and something that I’ve never heard Lawrence Lessig talk about.

  9. I think we should be allowed to download books from the internet. What better place than your own home to be able to look through and get what you want without the hustle of return dates and the possibility of losing a book which will cost you more in the end. you don’t even have to worry about the condition of the book. My vote is yes.

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