Textbook Sharing vs. File "Sharing":

Bob Frankston (via Dan Bricklin) muses on the apparent disparity between the crackdown on file "sharing" on college campuses and the absence of a similar crackdown on textbook sharing. In fact the publishing industry isn't cracking down because they've already litigated this issue to death and won; see Basic Books, Inc. v. Kinko's Graphics Corp., 758 F. Supp. 1522 (S.D.N.Y 1991); American Geophysical Union v. Texaco, Inc., 60 F.3d 913 (2d Cir. 1994); and Princeton University Press v. Michigan Documents Services, Inc., 99 F.3d 1381 (6th Cir. 1996). In plain English, you just don't have a legal right to make and distribute copies of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright holder. You can legally share a textbook in the sense Bob uses because you're not making a copy.

I have no particular aversion to file "sharing" (I miss Audiogalaxy something fierce), but whatever your position is on the issue there's still no excuse for not understanding that it's against the law.

Previously at Studio Nibble...