“Sharing ebooks is a place where what’s ethical and what’s legal don’t really meet.”

This was the statement made by someone who has managed to hack the privacy settings of Amazon’s Kindle and makes copies of books, some of which he “loans” to other people. He justifies his actions, by saying he buys a dozen books a month.

I don’t get it. If I buy a house that is subject to covenants, and I don’t get to break the covenant about parking an RV on my property because my lawn is better maintained than the one next door, or the RV looks nicer than the beat up SUV parked across the street. When we make a contract by buying something subject to conditions, our choice was made when we bought the item.

Ebooks are not physical books, but, like physical books, we buy them conditionally. We don’t own the content of a physical book. We can’t copy it and sell the copies. This is true of ebooks too. Just because it can be done, it doesn’t mean it should be done.

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