More on manuals plus rescue

tony duell ard at
Fri Aug 21 13:50:03 CDT 2015

> I write for a (meager) living. If someone were to take my work and
> decide for themselves that it should be online for free, then they ARE
> stealing from me. That is reality, not the semantics of case law.

I am not convinced they are stealing from you. Depriving you of income, sure. But
not really theft.

If I steal your car then you have no use of that car until it is taken back from me and
returned to you, its rightful owner. But if I decide to make a piece of your work available
for free download then you still have that work, nothing stops you from selling it (although
alas you would have difficulty getting customers if it is available for free). When I am caught
I do not have to return anything to you to enable you to start selling again.

I will happily agree that it is both morally and legally a crime to distribute somebody else's
work that they get income from. The discussion of manuals and software here refers to 
items that the original author/company cannot or will not provide any longer. It is 
still a legal crime to distribute such work without permission I think, but I don't feel it is a
moral crime. Nobody is really losing money as a result (which is probably why some 
companies specifically allow it and many more turn a blind eye.)


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