> > I realise this may be a tangential issue, but if someone can't
> > afford a book and is not going to buy it either way, whom has he
> > harmed by downloading it?
>
> That's like saying that you're stuck with someone, and you're not
> going to share your food either way, so what harm is there in killing
> the person now instead of letting him starve to death.

OK, maybe this analogy is obvious to other people, but can you explain
to me what on earth you're talking about?

> That's just a
> silly way of thinking.

I can agree with that! A silly way of thinking isn't even the tip of
the iceberg. That's madness.

In fact that's got to be the least clearly articulated analogy I've
seen in years. It's like, let's make a comparison to something
completely unrelated, then add a bunch of really violent, emotionally
charged imagery, that way we can continue believing whatever we want
to believe without ever having to think about it.

For all the emotion involved, the reality is that in every field,
illegal downloads have an effect on sales. The effect is to increase
sales for niche players and decrease sales for mainstream players.
This has been found with movies and with music, so it's probably the
case for code as well. Java is the mainstream player, and Rails is the
niche. Irrespective of any passionate but utterly futile moral
debates, the ultimate economic result of this phenomenon is good for
anybody selling Rails books, including David Black.

-- 
Giles Bowkett
http://www.gilesgoatboy.org