Social Question

Arp's avatar

If sharing movies and music is illegal, is it illegal to borrow a friends book?

Asked by Arp (3511 points ) March 27th, 2010

Wouldn’t that make library’s illegal? Weird :\

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42 Answers

bobbinhood's avatar

Sharing movies and music is not illegal in the sense you are describing. However, many people use the word “share” to refer to making copies. In that sense, yes, it is illegal to photocopy your friend’s book for your own use.

Ivan's avatar

It’s illegal to photocopy all the pages of the book and give it to your friend.

Edit: Ninja’d

PacificToast's avatar

No, but like @Ivan said, photocopying them and distributing them would be illegal.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Arp: If the library had been invented this year it would have been illegal. However, the concept is grandfathered for non-electric books.

thriftymaid's avatar

No. When you borrow a book you are not taking ownership of it.

Arp's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish Heh, I can picture it now: DRM for books! Some old librarian follows you around, making sure you don’t distribute illegally. That would be awesome :P

PacificToast's avatar

Also, libraries are paid for through taxes, so a library would be considered a federal pirate ship filled with all the treasure in the seas: knowledge.

MacBean's avatar

It’s not illegal, but it’s morally wrong and you’ll go to hell for it.~

john65pennington's avatar

Good thought, but the wrong principle.

Borrowing a book from a friend, is just between two people. neither will profit or gain from this transaction.

Sharing music or a movie is illegal, since many copyright laws and indvidual money rights are violated.

lilikoi's avatar

You can borrow a movie from a friend in the same sense that you borrow a book. That’s not illegal.

If you copy all the pages in a book and redistribute, that is infringement. However, you are allowed to copy several pages of a text and distribute.

marinelife's avatar

Reproducing the book would be illegal.

But borrowing a friend’s (or the library’s) CD is not illegal.

It is the copying of the file that is illegal.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@john65pennington: Normally I agree with you 100% but please consider this. If I wanted to legally loan you some music I have here digitally (not on any medium) I couldn’t do it. This is a reduction of my rights as a digital property owner from that of the rights of a physical medium property owner such as a book holder or a VHS tape holder. I do not see why as we move into the “digital age” that the rights should be reduced. I believe we have made a mistake to eliminate these rights moving forward. This mistake has caused a “crime wave” as people ignore laws they find ridiculous that they are unable to loan out something which they purchased. If you wish people to have respect for the law then the laws must generally be reasonable. We went way too far when we told people they couldn’t loan out their own property and now we have no enforceable law at all.

filmfann's avatar

If you have a CD, you have the rights to that music.
If you make a copy of that CD, it’s okay.
If you give away that CD, they don’t have the rights, so it is illegal.
If you make a copy of that CD, then give away the original, your copy is illegal, because you no longer have the source rights.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@filmfann: What if you made a copy and then someone stole your original? Then who has the right to listen to the music and who has the illegal copy?

laureth's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish – when you lend a friend a book or CD, they have temporary use of the thing and you are temporarily without it. The Barnes and Noble Nook (their Kindle-like reader) has a similar feature where you can loan an e-book to a friend.

“The loan technology is modeled just like a real physical book so when the loaner gives a friend the book then the loaner has no access to that book. The loanee then has the book for 14 days, I forgot to ask if they can return it earlier, and when that loan period expires the license for that book is transferred back to the loaner.”

Perhaps some technology that did the same thing for music would allow you to loan your digital music to a friend. Since it’s all based on the license you have for that copy, that one copy and license would be what you loan.

MacBean's avatar

Some of you may find this interesting. It’s an exchange between an author and someone who was offering her works for free online.

marinelife's avatar

@MacBean Thanks for sharing that. It was mind-blowing.

thriftymaid's avatar

Anything (music/movies) downloaded or coming in or out of a shared folder that is protected work is illegal. The term “downloading” is often used, but what the courts have said is that when you download off of websites such as Limewire, you are actually accessing individuals’ shared folders. The people who are allowing you to download out of their shared folders, as well as the person downloading, are outside of the law.

john65pennington's avatar

MacBean, i, too, read the article. lets face it, once an article, a song or most anything personal, hits cyberspace, its then open-season on predators. sorry to say, but this is one of the faults of the networking system…........jurisdiction. something may be illegal in one state and not in another or another country. i think this was known to “the powers that be” cyberspace inventors from the very beginning. there is truly no way to enforce copyright laws, since the universe is involved with each transaction.

Interesting, but true article. john

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@laureth: If I am in LA and my friend is in NYC can I give the book to my friend forever using the nook?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish, “If I wanted to legally loan you some music I have here digitally (not on any medium) I couldn’t do it”
You may own the a copy of the music, but you don’t own the Copyright (that is, the right to copy) to the material in question. There is no reduction of rights. You may loan any copy of anything you legally own, but there are restrictions in sharing in the sense of copying.

laureth's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish – “Besides just allowing you to trade between friends with the Nook, you’ll also be able to swap your stuff down to someone with an app on their iPhone or iPod touch, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and eventually Android devices.” (link)

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@laureth: Thank you but upon reading the link it turns out you don’t have the right to loan books with the Nook after all: “only about half of the retail selections will allow for lending come launch”. This is only a special feature of select books.

I am also not sure what “swap your stuff down” means. Does this mean transfer rights? Does it mean loan? Does it mean something else?

I also don’t like the fact that these books look like they are DRM protected for an unlimited amount of time. If the DRM is not time-limited eventually the book will be lost as there will be no way to read it in the future.

Do you own one Laureth?

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: “There is no reduction of rights.” <== There is a HUGE reduction in rights. If I buy a real book I can loan it to Laureth but if I buy a Nook-Book I can’t loan it to anyone. Then you try to tell me my rights are the same?

laureth's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I don’t own one. I answer these questions with my Google-Fu after having heard about the loan feature on the radio the other day.

However, I do know that “some books can be loaned” does not mean “you don’t have the right to loan books with the Nook after all:” And I was using the Nook loaning feature to suggest a way that, perhaps in the future, your digital music could be “loaned.”

However, if you are adamant about wanting to loan your items to your friends, it seems as though it would behoove you to acquire them in a loanable format.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@laureth: You don’t have the right to loan them with Nook. This is only an optional feature which some titles support. There is a big difference between an optional feature of some titles and a right. This would be like saying I have the right to make copies of copyrighted music because some bands choose to allow it so long as the copies are not sold. If one person in a group allows something it is not a right. Even if half allow it (as in the case of Nook) it is still clearly not a right. All (or at least almost all) must allow it or not be able to legally forbid it. If I purchase a real book I have the RIGHT to loan it out. I stand by my statement. I am adamant about property rights AND I am adamant about progress. There is no reason property rights need to be mutually exclusive with progress into the digital age.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish It is not your rights that are being curtailed, it is the difference in the right you were granted when you purchased rights to an intellectual property.

MacBean's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish: If you really want to lend someone a Barnes & Noble ebook, you’re free to hand over the whole Nook. Nobody’s gonna put you in handcuffs or issue a fine for that. Your rights are not reduced.

laureth's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish – First, what @MacBean said.

Second, you can lend some titles, but not all. This is different from saying that no titles allow lending. I just said this in my last quip.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: So how do I purchase the same rights for my electronic version as I have for my physical book? I can’t! My rights are reduced. This reduction of rights may originate at the purchasing phase but they very much transfer over into the ownership phase.
@MacBean: If I “want to lend someone a Barnes & Noble ebook” I cannot lend “a book” by handing over the device. This lends the entire library not “a book.” I once had a teacher who loaned each of her students “a book.” If I have the ability to lend “a book” and I own 250 books I could distribute one to each student in a 30 student classroom for each of six periods. I could lend out 240 books to 240 students. The ability to lend the library does not equate to the ability to lend a book.
@laureth: I didn’t say “no titles allow lending”. I was very clear this was a feature of select titles.

MacBean's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish: The fact remains that your rights are not being violated. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you’re being repressed. You CAN lend your books. The manner in which you do it just has to change to fit the new technology and at the moment it is imperfect.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish First, by purchasing a copyrighted work, in whatever medium, you are purchasing a copy of the work only. Copyright law, in the US, is regulated by Title 17 of the United States Code, which is also consistent with the Berne Convention regarding international rights.

_(Edit)_By the way, I am not a lawyer, I am only sharing information that I have collected over the years in dealing with mprotection fo my own intellectual property

US Code Title 17 § 202 delineates the difference between ownership of material object (in our discussion, a digital recording) and the rights to the intellectual property contained within that material object.

Quote (with my added emphasis):

Ӥ 202. Ownership of copyright as distinct from ownership of material object

Ownership of a copyright, or of any of the exclusive rights under a copyright, is distinct from ownership of any material object in which the work is embodied. Transfer of ownership of any material object, including the copy or phonorecord in which the work is first fixed, does not of itself convey any rights in the copyrighted work embodied in the object…”

(Edit) BTW, I am not a lawyer, I am just sharing what I have learned over the last forty years trying to protect my own intellectual property

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@MacBean: You are confusing the ability to lend the entire library with the ability to lend a book. How could you pretend to not see the difference? This is more than just “imperfect”! For anyone with a non-trivial library it is prohibitive.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: This quote talks about rights of the original copyright holder when an instance is provided to an instance holder. I am talking about the rights of an instance holder to transfer or loan his instance to another individual.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

In that case you need to consult the terms of service from the source from which you made the purchase. The right of the purchaser varies from source to source. If you purchase a vinyl disc recording, for example, your rights are different than if you download a song from a website iTunes, for example, there are certain specific terms and conditions that you agree to by using the site. This constitutes a legal agreement, and spells out the rights that you have, and the rights that are retained by the owner(s) of the site and of the work.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: Apple knows their users don’t care much for their rights, their freedom from forced censorship, etc. This is why I have never made a purchase from iTunes and I don’t own an iPod or iPhone. Google has gone the opposite direction and has gone so far as to “withdraw from China” to fight censorship. This is why I choose to own a Google Android based phone, I purchases lots of Google Adwords, I search on Google, etc. I put my money where my mouth is.

MacBean's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish: I’m not confusing anything. I see and know the difference. I also know a very small percentage of the population owns one of these devices and that if/when they become more popular and it becomes more profitable, then the technology will be improved. I have a Kindle, which doesn’t allow for the sharing of any files. But you know what? It doesn’t really matter to me, since I don’t think I know anyone else who has one. I couldn’t share even if the device could. And I’m pretty confident that by the time I do know enough people who I might want to share books with, I’ll be able to.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@MacBean: “I’m pretty confident that by the time I do know enough people who I might want to share books with, I’ll be able to.” <== I hope so but I don’t think it will happen by accident. Users and voters have to demand these rights. Consider trading your Kindle in for a Nook and consider trading your Nook in for whatever future device truly allows you the same rights as a physical book owner. For now I won’t even accept the limitations imposed by the Nook despite my exuberance for digital media.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish, the point I’m trying to make, and I am sorry I have not been clearer, is this: When you purchase a copyrighted work, you are purchasing a copy of that work, and your rights to that work are limited. The limitation of your rights, and the preservation of the rights of the copyright holder are all spelled out or implied by the purchase. Any limitation of your rights is agreed to by you when you make the purchase.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: This is EXACTLY why I refuse to purchase a Kindle/Nook even though I think I would otherwise love one. I do not consent to this limitation of my rights. I believe other people give up their rights too easily and without any fight. Please consider fighting for your rights so that we all may have them.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@malevolentbutticklish I understand your point of view. As a songwriter, I am as interested in preserving my rights as I am in the rights of those I would want to hear my music.

malevolentbutticklish's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: I am an intellectual property rights holder as well as an intellectual property producer. I am interested in turning my intellectual property rights into $$$. The way to do this is by creating real value for the customer—not by eliminating customer value as DRM does. “Apple announced that after six years, the iTunes Store would soon completely stop selling music encumbered by digital rights management (DRM) restrictions.” Why do we have to learn this lesson all over again with books? I am in disbelief.

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