On May 15, 2006, at 16:03, Elliot Temple wrote:

> But is every case of piracy deserving of the same great scorn? 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?

Whether he has "harmed" anybody or not is quite irrelevant, and a false 
argument (except for purposes of how much extra money you owe the 
creator if you violate his/her copyright). US Copyright law, in both 
principle and practice, with a few specific and notable exceptions, 
says that what a person creates belongs to them. If I create some 
fabulous work of art or brilliant programming book, it is my right as 
the person who did the making to
    give it away for free
    give away the right to copy it for free
    sell or lease the right to publish it to a third party
    publish it myself and charge people some nominal fee
    publish it myself and charge an outrageous fee
    not share it with anybody but people named "Fred."

If you don't happen to like what I'm doing with my creation, that's 
just too bad. Make your own. The fact that you can steal it without 
"harming" anybody because you wouldn't have paid for it anyway (or I 
wasn't going to sell it to you in the first place) is a bogus argument, 
because it's not your right to decide who will or won't be harmed by 
stealing my work. It's my work, it's my time/energy/money in the 
making, it's my right.

Music, BTW, is one of the specific and notable exceptions; specifically 
the performance of somebody else's composition. There's also a time 
limit on ownership, which is currently very long (I believe it's 
creator's lifetime + 70 years, but I'd have to check; they keep 
changing it). Finally, there's "fair use," which I'd guess about 94% of 
the people who claim this don't understand, and which is widely abused.