Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is copying an eBook legal

No. Tampering with copyright works is equivalent to counterfeiting.


  1. Hello! I found this site while I was on There were discussions about this site. I had a question and am hoping you can answer it for me because I am unsure if what I do is legal or not. I do not pirate books on any sites. I do however purchase ebooks from amazon and convert them on calibre to use on my iPod touch to read. Now the reason I do this is because often amazon has the largest selection and I do not own a kindle. I do not share the books however because I have no interest in giving away ebooks I purchased with my money. Is purchasing and converting the books illegal? Even though I do not share them with anyone else? I do not want to get in trouble and would appreciate it if you could answer my question.

  2. If you purchased the eBook, it is legal for you to make copies for you to use on your devices.

    Purchasing and converting eBooks you bought is not illegal. You have the right to take a program, a CD, a DVD, an eBook you purchased via legal sources (Amazon, the publisher, a legit third party seller—like Fictionwise, All Romance eBooks, etc) and make copies for your use on your devices.

    For example, I own many VHS movies. With each purchase, I immediately made a duplicate tape, put the original back in its case and put it away. I only ever view the duplicate because I want to preserve the original for as long as possible. Never is there a copy made of a copy and all are only viewed on my machines. If I were to give away anything, I would give away the original and destroy any copy made.

    Yes, if you legally purchased the book—Amazon is definitely a legal seller as publishers do have contracts with Amazon—it is legal for you to convert those books with calibre or other such program to use on any of your devices for the purpose of your enjoyment.

  3. Hi there, I just wanted to take a moment to comment and tell you thank you for doing this. I spent all of last night--well, between the hours of 8-10, sending out cease requests to people illegally giving out my books on their "share" sites. Its a nightmare and its going to put a lot of authors out of business. So--thank you for taking the time and if I can ever help, please let me know.

    Rebecca Royce

  4. Thank you for standing up for us.

  5. Thank you for doing this. I think it's awesome that you are calling out pirates and educating the public.

  6. Thank you.

    I am doing this exactly for the reasons you stated—to educate. If this blog reaches people and helps them understand sharing and pirating are not the same and pirating is illegal, then it is worth every second of my time.

    There are many people who do not know what they're doing is illegal and how much pirating hurts authors and publishers, but lack a resource they can openly ask without fear of retaliation.

    If anyone wants to know if what they are doing is illegal, ask. I’m happy to answer any question someone asks. The authors out there are also willing to answer such questions and help those confused understand copyright and distribution rights and legalities.

  7. Not to compete in any way, but to compliment... there is also a very large group (as regards content) on GoodReads dot com called "Authors Without a Yacht" which is intended to educate and inform.

    It's quite a handy reference for who is talking about copyright, fair use, piracy, resale, first sale rights etc and where.

    Free to join. "Authors Without A Yacht" is a reference to something one pirate said about objecting to paying for books because authors don't need a third yacht in this economy.

    Many authors couldn't even pay for one canoe out of their royalties, let alone two or three yachts.

  8. I welcome all the help I can get in educating those who are interested in learning about pirates/thieves and the damage piracy does to authors as well as the publishing and music industries.

    It breaks my heart that authors even have to hunt down these links since the links never should have been there in the first place. It would be great if the search engines made those posting the links prove legal ownership of the posted property.

    I fail to understand how any reasonably intelligent person thinks it was okay to place a link to another person’s legally owned property without having any legal authority to do so.

    How and why anyone would think they have any right to put someone else’s legal property up for either sale or openly handed out to the general public is beyond my comprehension.

    What would the pirates/thieves think if I walked up to their house or car and put a for sale or for free sign on those items?

    Pirate – another word for stupid idiot.

  9. Hi, I found this site and I think it might be another share site. I haven't found any of my favorite authors there yet, and I'm not sure how big it is. If it's young maybe it can be pruned before it grows, yes?

    Also have you ever gone onto and read the comments people put there? Or the ridiculous "statistics" they claim or accusations they make (they are indignant that she was upset that midnight sun was linked)? I think that they're spreading a lot of badness, maybe we could mention them besides share sites because people will follow their "reports" and think it's ok.

  10. *BIG HUGS*

    I love you guys! This is fantastic. Can you do a post on two Astatalk users who I've been playing ping-pong with for the last two months (they put them up, I take them down, they put them up, so on)? #1 buttons726. #2 desideria.

    I've been filing FBI reports every time I send DMCA complaints and it would make me feel so much better to give the FBI something more concrete to work with.

    Thanks bunches!


  11. Thank you! Education against piracy will go a long way. *hugs and smooches* from another author who fights piracy of her books every day.