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davorg (18)

davorg
  dave@dave.org.uk
http://dave.org.uk/
Yahoo! ID: daveorguk (Add User, Send Message)

Hacker, author, trainer

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Journal of davorg (18)

Wednesday September 11, 2002
07:22 AM

Phree Stuph!!

[ #7672 ]

Yesterday I was catching up with the posts on the Perl Beginners mailing list that's run by the nice folks over at learn.perl.org.

Someone posted a question asking about which books would be good to learn Perl from. Amongst all the responses pointing people at various good (and less good) Perl books, someone posted a link to a site that has copies of many of the O'Reilly Perl books available for download. I assume they were pirated from the CD Bookshelf.

I posted a response, removing the link from my post and pointing out that it was probably a bad idea to advertise such a site on a mailing list where a number of the authors of those books would see the link. Maybe I should have been more direct and said that stealing from someone is bad enough, but telling them that you're stealing from them is just plain stupid.

Within an hour of me posting this, I got a private email from someone saying that my post had been corrupted and the link has been removed from it. They asked if I could sent them the link because they couldn't afford to buy all the books they needed.

I said no :)

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  • This has happend over at Perlmonks [perlmonks.org]. I don't think Merlyn took to kindly to havining his hard work distributed for free. The node was reaped, and I think Merlyn chased the site up, too.

    I was speaking to a small audio-book publisher earlier this week, and they were very downbeat, almost all their CDs can be found on the net as MP3/WMA files....

    --
    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • If you are against copyright and the RIAA then how are books different or exempt from this? It's a curiosity for me since the scope of copyright seems to elude many who support free distribution of music and movies but get upset at other forms of piracy...like books.

    • We've had this discussion before. My position remains that I only ever have electronic copies of music that I have purchased. And I don't download films to watch on my computer.

      As far as I'm concerned, a person who creates a copyrightable work gets to choose the license that it's distributed under and I will not break that license.

      I agree, however, that it's a dilemma that needs to be addressed by people who support some forms of copyright, but not others.

      • Indeed. Copyright is a deep dark hole that I don't much care to inhabit and books are in a sort of grey area. Few seem to mention books in the music hububb yet books have even more restrictive copyrights than music does. Until we live in a utopian society I'm happy to buy books and music and tell my friends to do the same.

        I have made pdf's of the camel and cookbook that I keep on my laptop which technically violates the copyright agreement but I think I can live with that :)

    • You can't agglomerate everyone's positions together without finding some contradictions. :) For every 25 drooling, raving anti-copyright person on slashdot, there's always someone there calling them a bunch of drooling, raving lunatics and defending the system.

      My belief is that even when I disagree with a law, I should follow it and work for change legally within the system. This means I don't copy music, software, etc. For me, this actually comes up most often with church sheet music. My father is a

      --
      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
      • I have that's not an absolute position of yours. What about when slavery was legal? Would you have tried to follow that law? How about if you were a slave?

        How about laws on the books all over the place that attempt to limit people's rights to protest (requiring permits, etc.)? Should people respect those?

        The DMCA? Jim Crow laws?

        It seems to me that choosing to follow a bad law is a matter of tactics in a given struggle (assuming the struggle involves overturning that law). Sometimes it makes sense t
        • Martin Luther King had great success in intentionally violating certain unjust laws.

          How can you possibly relate slavery and civil rights to DCMA and Copyright?

          Copyright has always been a grey issue: the limited times provision in the Constitution [cafeshops.com] is open to interpretation so that it can evolve to promote the public interest 200+ years after it was originally crafted.

          The issue with Copyright isn't about bad laws per se; it's about a balance between corporate interests and the public interest, and (a

          • How can you possibly relate slavery and civil rights to DCMA and Copyright?

            I wasn't trying to do that. I was simply responding to jdavidb's statement that he thought it best to always obey the law. I think this is a pretty bad blanket position to take if you're at all concerned with achieving social/legal change. That's all.

            Whether or not obeying a particular law that you disagree with should be a case-by-base decision. Sometimes there are good ethical reasons to disobey. Sometimes there are good st

        • No, it's not absolute. I believe, as the Bible teaches, that we ought to obey God, rather than men [goreadthebible.com]. So, yes, I would disobey a law that required me to disobey God or mistreat my fellow man.

          --
          J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • I would say that, generally, people are not against copyright but the increasingly draconian measures that the RIAA and the like are trying, and suceeding, to make law despite the fact that the existing laws more than cover the problem of copying of copyright material.
  • I have been known to personally email gnat [perl.org], since he works for O'Reilly. I also point people to a journal entry [perl.org] of his on the subject.

    --
    J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
  • I came across some pirate ora CD bookshelves in the past and ratted them out to ora.com. I also drafted a few search engine queries to help their legal folks find more pirate sites (there were many).

    Ora.com sent me a free book :)

    I don't know if that's policy, but it sure was nice of 'em.

    -matt