The UK system seems unusual, I am unaware of any such arrangement elsewhere,
but in any case it seems from his posting that governments subsidise the
producers of material that is circulated in libraries - the users do not pay
(users are not necessarily taxpayers). Given the global nature of the
internet, trying to conform to the different standards of different
countries seems unworkable.
However I think that Gavin is absolutely right about copyright violation, it
makes no difference whether it is done for profit or not. And it is not a
matter of "Depriving another of rightful profit from works they hold
copyright on" since there is no need to prove that the violator would have
bought the material. As Jane pointed out in an earlier posting, if she has
to buy the rights to a picture to use in a lecture whe will probably not use
it at all. Many people put cartoon figures like Dilbert on their personal
websites without any intent to pay for what is basically a cute idea without
any financial value.
Software publishers make a big deal of busting teenage kids whom they claim
have stolen millions of dollars worth of software without ever showing that
the kids either used or sold the material. For many of these young hackers
this kind of piracy is a hobby and they often have no idea what the software
is for. So there is no financial loss to the publisher or gain to the
pirate, but they can still be prosecuted.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Gavin Simpson" <gavin.simp...@ucl.ac.uk>
Sent: Sunday, May 24, 2009 12:20 AM
Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] (il)legality of sharing PDF papers??
In the UK, for example, libraries *pay* the copyright holders of works
they lend out, on your behalf, via a copyright clearing service. The
money comes from the Government and hence ultimately from our taxes. So
you are paying to "licence" (in some sense) the copyrighted works
Fair use is something specific to US (and some other countries)
copyright law. The UK doesn't have the same provisions. What might be
acceptable in one jurisdiction could be illegal in another.
To me the ultimate test is very simple: if you personally are not
it - how can you be prosecuted?
Depriving another of rightful profit from works they hold copyright on?
Unfortunately (or fortunately, from the point of the publisher), you do
not make or enforce the law. Anyone considering "sharing" copyrighted
works that is concerned that they might be opening themselves up to
prosecution would do well to seek expert, local legal advice.