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Archived Message:

Digital copy of a book

ebookonline I own a book protected by copyright. Can I make a digital copy of that book legally and lend it ?

Posted on: 4:50 pm on April 6, 2007
rlemire ebookonline;

If you want to know if it is legal for you to buy a book that is copywrite protected, make a digital copy of that book and then share the digital copy. The answer would be no.

Most books specifically say "All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form".

In practical terms, copywrite covers any original work (print, music, images etc) whether implied or not. Therefore, even if that original work does not specifically say it is covered by a copywrite. It is.

However, it might be possible for you to contact an author or creator of some copywrite material and get permission to reproduce that material.


Posted on: 6:04 pm on April 6, 2007
ebookonline Also if I destroy the book I bought ?

(Edited by ebookonline at 6:25 pm on April 6, 2007)

Posted on: 6:24 pm on April 6, 2007
Storyman Not even if you destroy the original bound book.

In the US you can make a copy for yourself; be it a photocopy or digital. You are not allowed to distribute those copies. If you loan the original book to someone you are suppose to destroy the copy. Period.

If you happen to have made a copy of the book for your personal use you can give the copy of the book so long as the original is destroyed. Multiple copies are not allowed. Think of it as you're computer's OS. Microsoft sells a single copy of XP to be used on a single computer. If you have two computers you are required to have two copies of XP.

My suggestion is that you read all of the material pertaining to copyright at: http://www.copyright.gov (of course this is for US copyright).

(Edited by Storyman at 9:56 pm on April 7, 2007)

Posted on: 5:54 am on April 8, 2007
ebookonline "If you happen to have made a copy of the book for your personal use you can give the copy of the book so long as the original is destroyed."

So, if I make a digital copy of the original book, and I destroy it , I can loan my copy.

Posted on: 7:03 am on April 8, 2007
rlemire ebookonline;

No you can not legally "lend" a copy of any copywrite material. If you make a digital copy ( which I doubt is legal ) it could only be for your own personal backup. Not to share.

Any form of sharing of copywrite material (without the authors explicit permission) is piracy no matter how you word it.

I'm not sure, but I think you might be able to sell or give your copywrite protected material to a new owner provided you transfer the copywrite to the new owner and he becomes responsible for the copywrite protection. Clearly there can only be one legal owner and holder of the material.


(Edited by rlemire at 1:01 am on April 9, 2007)

Posted on: 7:48 am on April 8, 2007
Storyman Hi ebookonline,

When you buy a bound book chances are that it is copyrighted. Creating another form of the book (digital) might be okay for your own purposes.

Some publishers are beginning to provide their books in digital form AFTER the bound version has been purchased. You might want to check with the publisher if the book is available in digital format.

Are you thinking of digitizing a book, then loaning (or renting) it out? Please understand that you could be opening yourself up to a world of financial pain. Let me give you an example from a parallel business--movies.

When you buy a DVD movie you are allowed to show it in your home. You are not allowed to charge anyone attending the viewing.

Let's say you own a restaurant and decide to show that movie while people dine. That's also a no-no because you are not allowed a public performance of that movie.

With that said there is a healthy business of renting DVDs. Keep in mind that it does not involve transforming the material in any way, shape, or form.

If you intend to pursue this business model I'd suggest you contact a good intellectual rights attorney and explore the subject with him. I don't believe Ron is an attorney and I'm definitely not.

The problem I see with your business model is that you are transforming the material from print to digital.  If you can jump that hurdle you might have something. I know a guy who is highly successful renting out audio tapes. His business is international and operates on the Internet. He buys the tapes and CDs and rents them out. What he doesn't do is transfer the CDs to tape or vice versa.

See an intellectual rights attorney. Don't take advice regarding legal matters like this from anyone in a forum. You don't want to be left holding the bag.

(Edited by Storyman at 9:45 am on April 8, 2007)

Posted on: 5:29 pm on April 8, 2007
rlemire Storyman;

That's the best idea I've seen on this subject. Only an intellectual rights attorney would have the qualifications to explore these possibilities. I'm pretty sure that anyone who is renting copywrite material ( like a video store) has legal contracts that allow them to do so.

Like they say, "Anyone who represents themselves, or uses legal advise from a forum, has a fool for a lawyer"...


Posted on: 9:42 pm on April 8, 2007
Storyman Hi Ron,

True story. When VHS tapes were first released I approached two studios to set up a deal where I could buy them wholesale with the idea of renting them out. No one was doing it.

Both studio lawyers told me that in no uncertain terms would they ever allow the tapes to be rented. Being a mere pup and still wet behind the ears, I didn't challenge them. Lesson learned.

Posted on: 10:52 pm on April 8, 2007
profits4keeps Basically there is a not a chance that you can digitize a bound book that is copywritten.  Well that is not really true either, it depends on whether or not it is in the world of public domain usage.  There are some books that you can find that are before a certain year that are allowed to be used freely and distributed and basically edited at your own desire.  Now if you are talking about a newer edition of a bound book then you really can not digitize it and lend/rent/sell it out online.

i hope that this answers your questions.

jason conway

Posted on: 6:51 pm on September 20, 2007

Quote: from rlemire on 7:48 am on April 8, 2007[br]ebookonline;

Any form of sharing of copywrite material (without the authors explicit permission) is piracy no matter how you word it.

I don't normally nit-pick, (actually, I do), but that statement is entirely too broad, not to mention inaccurate.  The word "piracy" means, despite modern dictionaries that ***** ize the term when used in reference to copyrights, "taking possession of another's property to gain profit."

If you bootleg a copyrighted work and sell it, then, and only then, does the term piracy apply.  Otherwise, it is merely infringement, which can be compared to trespassing, although trespassing is usually a minor offense, whereas copyright infringement carries much stiffer penalties than most serious crimes - this comes from a civil matter, which only makes sense to the lawyers who made this up to protect their clients.  Lest you doubt this claim, look at Walt Disney movies, and itemize for me everything he ever made that should have been in the public domain by now....

Don't get me wrong - I'm 100% for the copyright laws as they were originally written.  However, they were never intended to be used as a method to permit monopolies to stay monopolies - RIAA and the MPAA should ring a bell.  Thanks to them, I went independent, and you couldn't change that no matter what.

Posted on: 9:00 pm on November 14, 2007

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