Don't Steal This Book

Burton Bollag, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Mar 30, 2004
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The textbook industry is beginning to suffer the effects of file sharing, as evidenced in this shrill article from the Chronicle deploring this new type of 'piracy'. Actually, the copying isn't all that new - I saw Chinese reproductions of texts a good 20 years ago. It's the WTO regulations to counter copying that are new. Anyhow, the losses described in this article are, of course, wildly exaggerated, based on the fable that each book copied represents a lost sale, which is absurd. But more serious is the question of how publishers suppose they can stop this. Will they, too, start suing students? Or only students in Asian countries?
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