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RANT against Stealing Site Content

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RANT against Stealing Site Content

Postby Jeff Tirey » Thu Jan 08, 2004 6:30 pm

My goodness! It's terrible that you would do such a thing! Why, if somebody were to contact me privately by IM, I would not be able give them copies of, oh, say, Anabasis or Homer that I already obtained in this way, thus saving them lots of time, because I would never do anything so horrid! <insert innocent angel emoticon here>


I'll be frank here, attitudes like this disappoint me. I'm not going to edit your comments because A. You've been on this board a long time and I respect you and B. because I'm not willing to even think for 2 seconds that I can actually control how people communicate. So if anyone wants to PM/IM/EMAIL Lex for free digital copies of Greek text - go for it because we can't and won't stop you.


But Here's my long rant about why I feel strongly that this is not a good thing.

I recreated Textkit because I felt an obligation, almost a duty, to give back to the Internet what it had given to me. My entire career, a career that supports my family, was ONLY made possible by the thousands of people and hundreds of websites that for no other purpose other than to share knowledge decided to spend time answering questions in forums, writing tutorials and creating free software from which I could learn. I have never had a single computer class or purchased one technical book and yet I'm a web developer who has been lucky enough to work full time since I started 5 years ago.

Textkit was created because some very special stars all aligned.
1. I had web skills
2. I enjoy classical languages
3. I could get free legal advice
4. I'm fortunate enough to afford a production scanner. They are not cheap and I think some jaws would drop around here if you knew exactly how expensive this site was to create and operate. I don't do this for money, I do it because I want to somehow validate my classics education and basically do to oi kaloi.

I'm usually very quiet about myself and the production side of things. This is because it's in my nature to lead a private life. Yet, I'm being more open right now because when I see how others are without shame willing to admit to and share web site content that they have taken, I can't help but have empathy for the lifted website because it makes me think about my own time and effort spent creating free content and how I would feel if others distributed Textkit content elsewhere.

I have no idea how expensive the Perseus project is but it's fair to say that it's not cheap. I'm willing to venture that it's the most expensive classics site ever created. I'm pointing out that it's expensive because the content is free and its massive collection of high quality content is simply stunning. Perseus is Rome. I pay it my respect by linking to them and encouraging visitors to explore their content. When Perseus arrived on the scene it was an epiphany. I felt, "So this is what the Internet can do!" My personal opinion is that Perseus hasn't even seen its golden age - that is still yet to come. If we're lucky, someday there will be a world in which every computer is small, cheap and with wireless high speed connections to the Internet. When that day arrives I'll be learning Plato in the park from Perseus.

In the meantime, I do not take from others things that are not mine to take. And I do not give to others things that are not mine to give.

When you take a website's content and share it with others you deny that site of its visitors. Visitorship is the very blood of websites. Without it project expenses are difficult to justify, with it they flourish. Textkit’s own guideline on the footer every page is “The redistribution of Textkit files and content is prohibited” You might think, “Why is that, these are public domain books.” The reason is very simple. We want site visitors. I could have just put all the PDFs in a boring file server – but how interesting is that. Not very. With visitors our site grows and things that are not possible today may become possible tomorrow.

So if you enjoy Perseus content this is what you do >> http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/

Ok. I'm done with ranting. Perhaps my opinions are trivial to some, but I thank all for reading this and as always, thank you for visiting Textkit!


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Postby Moerus » Thu Jan 08, 2004 7:38 pm

Many others are very happy with this site and support you, Jeff.

So: perge quo coepisti!
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Re: RANT against Stealing Site Content

Postby Lex » Thu Jan 08, 2004 11:18 pm

Hi Lex,
First off, I'm VERY sorry for replying in your thread :oops: :oops: :oops: I thought this was my own. So if you need to restate your post please do so.
jeff


Hi Lex, yes we're going to have to disagree.

lex wrote: When I copy data, the original owner still has his copy, so I can't quite fathom how it could be considered stealing.


No, that's not the point at all with why it's important to protect and respect site content. You're right, copy Smyth's Greek Grammar all day and it's not going to harm me one cent. But if those copies make their way to other servers and other methods of distribution where the user could have just as easily come here to Textkit for it then then I'm absolutely wronged. Because a new visitor has been taken from us. Web content's value is in the visitors it brings to the site everyday. With visitors so many things are possible like this very forum and still new site features that are yet to be.


lex wrote:So you would be upset if I gave somebody a copy of my collection of TextKit downloads on a CDRW, to save him the trouble of downloading them? I just don't understand this. These PDFs already have your URL on them, and I don't hack that out, so it's not like he wouldn't know about TextKit. By distributing these PDFs, I would actually be providing the site with free advertising!


I like to think that I'm reasonable and this sounds reasonable to me, so no I wouldn't mind. I understand that not everyone can download a 40MB file and if access gets in the way of learning I would rather have CDRs floating around. But our distribution policy is really intended not for this scenario but instead to put would be content lifters on notice from taking anything here and posting it on another server. We have to be clear about how we wish our content to be used.

Back to that rather long rant about Textkit and why it came to be, I guess I said that because I want to make it clear how difficult and time consuming it is to create quality content. You obviously valued Perseus content enough to go through the Anabasis and Homer copying page by page - a task that probably took awhile. And this is where we're different I suppose. When I look at other websites' content that I like, I respect their hard work and I follow their guidelines. If I don't like a website's content then I don't return.

Now, right or wrong and for whatever reasons, Perseus has guidelines about how to use their content. I can't speak for them so I won't. But it seems discourtesy to me to take their content and then offer to give it to others. Whoever uses those files will spend less time on Perseus and Perseus losses the chance to communicate with them.

That's how I see it.

Jeff
(sorry for replying inside your post again :oops: .)
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Postby Keesa » Fri Jan 09, 2004 12:42 am

This is a difficult topic for me to discuss. I'm going to do my very best to post gently, but I ask you all right now for your forgiveness if I say anything that offends you, or say anything in a way that offends you.

I agree with Jeff. I agree with him completely and wholeheartedly. He and the others like him have put their time, their hearts, and their money into developing this site, and sites like it.

I probably misread you, Lex (in fact, I hope I did!) but are you saying that you don't believe that intellectual property has no value? That copying it and redistributing it do no harm to the original author? Quite frankly, this attitude (if it is your attitude; again, I hope I misread!) terrifies and disgusts me. My entire life is built around this worthless intellectual property. Granted, I work in words, and Jeff works in-well, in whatever computer people work in to bring us sites like Textkit and Perseus. But the idea is the same. Are you saying that it's okay for you to take the stories, articles and books that I write and copy them, even redistribute them, to anyone you want, without my permission and without compensation? If you copy my story, let's say, and give it to someone, then someone has a copy who otherwise would have had to buy a copy, which would ultimately have benefitted me as the author. Jeff's restitution are the "hits" (am I using that word right?) that he would have gotten if the person had visited his site and downloaded the content themselves. I call that stealing.

Is plagiarizing my work not stealing? I still have my original copy, after all. It's not as though you've taken anything physical from me. But regardless of whether or not these things are physical or not, they are mine. I agree that these rights have been blown way out of proportion by large corporations, like the music industry, who are trying to line their pockets, but that doesn't make your stealing (yes, I call it stealing!) right, nor does it justify it in any way.

Again, I am so sorry if I've offended anyone. I just feel very strongly on this. Intellectual property is property. Some of us live off of it.

And just to emphasize my point, that this is whole issue truly is important, Jeff, may I have your official permission to copy the lessons in Latin for Beginners and First Greek Book to my notebook?

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Postby benissimus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:02 am

Lex, I think you have an interesting and defensible argument there, and no one is going to stop you from copying from other sites. However, I see it as extremely belligerent and ungrateful to say that you will continue to do this to Textkit when Jeff has just plainly asked you not to, whether you agree with his principles or not.
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Postby mingshey » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:47 am

I'm a bit embarassed.
I agree that redistributing a web content is wrong, and I see why and how it can do harm to the web site. But why the post on how to get a clean hard copy(for personal uses) should be deleted?
Well, I think it's because the process involves copy and pasting the contents to another electronical format which enables redistribution. But it's a different issue from whether you do redistribute it or not.
Anyway, web-lifting is not a problem of technology; it's too easy. It's a problem of moral, and law(but I think it's moral that keeps people from the web-lifting, that is, law cannot detect every secret web-lifting).
And Perseus has more value than providing the mere text of the classics. The powerful morphological tool cannot be copied and even if you have a hard copy of the text, you have to constantly visit the web site to refer to the tools. Not that it's okay to steal the text. If only it enabled changing display and print font, this issue would have arisen in the first time. It was about getting a non-ugly hard copy.
Last edited by mingshey on Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RANT against Stealing Site Content

Postby Bert » Fri Jan 09, 2004 1:55 am

jeff wrote: I recreated Textkit because I felt an obligation, almost a duty, to give back to the Internet what it had given to me.

I have wondered many times (out loud; to my wife), what makes Jeff create and maintain this site.
There seems to be nothing in it for him besides a lot of work and expenses.
Now I have a bit of an idea why.
I feel bad that there is no way that I can give back to textkit what textkit is giving me. All I can do is buy the few books I buy through the 'support textkit page'.
Thank you Jeff and co.
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Re: RANT against Stealing Site Content

Postby Jeff Tirey » Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:18 am

Bert wrote:
jeff wrote: I recreated Textkit because I felt an obligation, almost a duty, to give back to the Internet what it had given to me.

I have wondered many times (out loud; to my wife), what makes Jeff create and maintain this site.
There seems to be nothing in it for him besides a lot of work and expenses.
Now I have a bit of an idea why.


I appreciate hearing that. It doesn't feel like a lot of work - slow and steady. It's also fun. And for expense, I'll have to have my "Sale of the Century Booksale" someday. They only way I can justify buying all of these books is because I'll sell them. So you can thank me then :-)

I'm happy to see signs that the project is shifting gears and expanding as more people find us and contribute their own unique skills and time. The ultimate goal is to have a site that produces its own content through the collective contributions of its members. This includes everyone who takes the time to answer questions in the forum. That last round of PDFs we posted were all sent in by visitors. The tutorials project is moving along well. There are only a handful of tutorials right now, but I don't see why there can't be hundreds someday. Also, I'm working too with Will on the study group project - his server admin and Unix skills will play a critical role in helping me get the mailing list software installed on the server.

Heck, I'll just say it now, Textkit plans to provide free mailing list support for any group that conducts Greek or Latin learning. It'll be commercial free so it won't cost the group leader anything and there won't be any banner ads in the mailings. We don't expect anything in return. We're doing it because both we can and it's just another way to broaden our primary purpose which is to provide free Greek and Latin learning tools to anyone who wants or needs it. There are still yet more project ideas slowly simmering on the backburner.

But getting back to this thread, none of this is possible without traffic.

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Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:19 pm

benissimus wrote:Lex, I think you have an interesting and defensible argument there, and no one is going to stop you from copying from other sites. However, I see it as extremely belligerent and ungrateful to say that you will continue to do this to Textkit when Jeff has just plainly asked you not to, whether you agree with his principles or not.


Actually, I have never shared TextKit files with anybody else, since everybody I know who is interested in classical languages happens to be here anyway. However, if I did know somebody else who was interested in classical languages, and didn't have a good high-bandwidth connection to the Internet, I would give him a copy on CDRW. I would also tell him to check out TextKit when he gets the chance (not because I feel obliged to, but because it is a worthwhile site).

It's not that I am ungrateful or being belligerence for its own sake. It's just that I don't feel a moral or legal obligation to use a website in exactly the way the author intended. I'm sorry if that offends.
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Re: RANT against Stealing Site Content

Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:43 pm

Jeff wrote:Hi Lex,
First off, I'm VERY sorry for replying in your thread :oops: :oops: :oops: I thought this was my own. So if you need to restate your post please do so.
jeff


Oh, well. It seems enough people read my original response for them to be aware of the gist of the discussion.

Jeff wrote:No, that's not the point at all with why it's important to protect and respect site content. You're right, copy Smyth's Greek Grammar all day and it's not going to harm me one cent. But if those copies make their way to other servers and other methods of distribution where the user could have just as easily come here to Textkit for it then then I'm absolutely wronged. Because a new visitor has been taken from us. Web content's value is in the visitors it brings to the site everyday. With visitors so many things are possible like this very forum and still new site features that are yet to be.


Hmmm, how do I say this without people accusing me of being a male reproductive organ again? I understand where you're coming from. And I personally would not make the PDFs you created available on another server, simply out of respect for you, and from the fact that I value TextKit. But I don't believe that doing such a thing would "wrong" you, in any formal sense of the word. Since I don't believe in intellectual property (IP), I don't believe that you have the right to control what others do with the information they gather from this site. In other words, storing TextKit PDFs on another server would not be violating your rights.

Jeff wrote:Back to that rather long rant about Textkit and why it came to be, I guess I said that because I want to make it clear how difficult and time consuming it is to create quality content.


I understand that. I program for a living myself. It's just that, although I believe that "mixing ones labour" with something material (to use the Lockean phrase) does give one property rights to it, I don't believe that applies to information. That being the case, I don't believe I am morally obliged to honor a web site author's wishes. I do so with TextKit, not out of a sense of moral obligation, but out of a sense of gratitude, and a desire for TextKit to stay around for a long while.
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:07 pm

Lex wrote:
benissimus wrote:Lex, I think you have an interesting and defensible argument there, and no one is going to stop you from copying from other sites. However, I see it as extremely belligerent and ungrateful to say that you will continue to do this to Textkit when Jeff has just plainly asked you not to, whether you agree with his principles or not.


Actually, I have never shared TextKit files with anybody else, since everybody I know who is interested in classical languages happens to be here anyway. However, if I did know somebody else who was interested in classical languages, and didn't have a good high-bandwidth connection to the Internet, I would give him a copy on CDRW. I would also tell him to check out TextKit when he gets the chance (not because I feel obliged to, but because it is a worthwhile site).

It's not that I am ungrateful or being belligerence for its own sake. It's just that I don't feel a moral or legal obligation to use a website in exactly the way the author intended. I'm sorry if that offends.


The fact that you didn't concede to any point in Jeff's argument led me to assume that you were not going to follow through on his wishes. I really don't care about all these copyright and intellectual property details, but I think when someone asks and tells you not to do something with something he himself made, that you should obey his wishes if you do indeed respect him. If you are going to do this, then fine, but if so then you are not making it clear.

As for the morality of "copying" as opposed to "stealing"...
What would you think of a person who went to an author's home and photocopied every page of a book he was writing and then published his version at the same time as the author? I think that is a pretty good analogy, since the producer still has the property and both copies are available simultaneously, with similar effects against the author.
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Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:27 pm

Keesa wrote:I probably misread you, Lex (in fact, I hope I did!) but are you saying that you don't believe that intellectual property has no value?


Hmmm... I wish there was a "chagrined" emoticon. You've posed a loaded question, since you use the phrase "intellectual property", which I believe is a nonsense phrase. So, I'll rephrase. I believe that some information has value, of course, otherwise I wouldn't bother to make copies of it.

Keesa wrote:That copying it and redistributing it do no harm to the original author?


That depends on what "harm" means. If Walmart opens up a store right across the street from Mom and Pop Finnigan's General Store, does that harm them? Yes, quite possibly it would put them out of business. Does that violate their rights? No, I don't believe it does. Walmart has no obligation to honor Mom and Pop Finnigan's desires to obtain an income from all the work they put into their general store by not locating a Walmart branch across the street from them.

The same applies to web sites and copying site content.

Keesa wrote:Quite frankly, this attitude (if it is your attitude; again, I hope I misread!) terrifies and disgusts me. My entire life is built around this worthless intellectual property. Granted, I work in words, and Jeff works in-well, in whatever computer people work in to bring us sites like Textkit and Perseus. But the idea is the same. Are you saying that it's okay for you to take the stories, articles and books that I write and copy them, even redistribute them, to anyone you want, without my permission and without compensation?


I'm saying it would not violate your rights to copy and redistribute your words, without compensating you, because you don't have property rights in the patterns of information (words) that you have generated. The fact that this harms you by reducing your income is, quite frankly, irrelevant to the question of whether doing so would be a violation of your rights.

Keesa wrote:If you copy my story, let's say, and give it to someone, then someone has a copy who otherwise would have had to buy a copy, which would ultimately have benefitted me as the author. ... I call that stealing.


I call it a poor business plan on your part.

Keesa wrote:Is plagiarizing my work not stealing?


No, it's lying, which I personally consider dishonorable. Whether it actually violates your rights, I'm not sure. I'd have to give it more thought. My initial thought was "No, it does not violate rights".

Keesa wrote:I still have my original copy, after all. It's not as though you've taken anything physical from me. But regardless of whether or not these things are physical or not, they are mine. I agree that these rights have been blown way out of proportion by large corporations, like the music industry, who are trying to line their pockets, but that doesn't make your stealing (yes, I call it stealing!) right, nor does it justify it in any way.


Well, I certainly understand your point of view, even though I don't agree with it. And vice versa, I am sure. All I can say is, as a person who makes a living by generating patterns of information, you need to be aware that there are other out there, like me, who disagree with you, and whether they are ultimately right or wrong, they have some philosophical basis for their position. So you might want to consider how you can change your business plan so that you can obtain income from these people as well, without using legal retribution against them (which tends to turn away repeat business). :wink:

Keesa wrote:Again, I am so sorry if I've offended anyone. I just feel very strongly on this. Intellectual property is property. Some of us live off of it.


I'm not offended. As you already know, I actually enjoy weird philosophical debates like this. I'm a strange man. :oops:
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Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:33 pm

benissimus wrote:The fact that you didn't concede to any point in Jeff's argument led me to assume that you were not going to follow through on his wishes. I really don't care about all these copyright and intellectual property details, but I think when someone asks and tells you not to do something with something he himself made, that you should obey his wishes if you do indeed respect him. If you are going to do this, then fine, but if so then you are not making it clear.


I might give a CDRW of (unmodified) TextKit PDFs to another person (which Jeff has already said he's not terribly bothered by). I would not make the files available on another server, but not because I feel obliged not to; just because I like Jeff, and don't want to be a complete jerk.

benissimus wrote:As for the morality of "copying" as opposed to "stealing"... What would you think of a person who went to an author's home and photocopied every page of a book he was writing and then published his version at the same time as the author? I think that is a pretty good analogy, since the producer still has the property and both copies are available simultaneously, with similar effects against the author.


Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.
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Postby benissimus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:36 pm

Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.

Maybe they were friends
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Postby Kalailan » Fri Jan 09, 2004 5:30 pm

The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.

i think that 'Rights' will not necessary, if the treatment of strangers would be the same as well known people. you see, lex, it doesn't matter whether the right has been violated. the right doesn't suffer. the person suffers from the violation, and i think that anyone should be regarded as one of the people you like.
if someone you hate would make a site similar to textkit, would you then do all the things you stated you don't do out of respect to jeff?

i will try to some it in a sentence:

i don't want to have a right to be respected; i want to be rsepected.
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Postby Episcopus » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:08 pm

If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)
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Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:10 pm

benissimus wrote:
Well, that ignores the fact that the person violated the author's real property rights by breaking into his home to obtain the copy.

Maybe they were friends


Say the author lends a pre-release copy of a book to somebody to get his opinion, without making that person sign a contract stipulating that he does not copy it?

In that case, while it would be dishonorable, it wouldn't be a violation of property rights.
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Postby Lex » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:25 pm

Kalailan wrote:The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.


I'm use the term "right" to mean something that others are legally obliged, upon threat of force, to honor. This is to distinguish between what I think people should be obliged to do or not do, and what is honorable or nice. I think it's a very important distinction. Otherwise we would have the Nice Police running around arresting people and throwing them in jail for not being nice. Now that's scary.

I've tried to make clear that I will honor Jeff's wishes with regard to TextKit PDF files. But not because I feel obliged to.

Kalailan wrote:i think that 'Rights' will not necessary, if the treatment of strangers would be the same as well known people. you see, lex, it doesn't matter whether the right has been violated. the right doesn't suffer. the person suffers from the violation, and i think that anyone should be regarded as one of the people you like.


Things happen that make people suffer, but which are not rights violations, all the time. We have to learn to deal with them. It's part of growing up. I suffered the last time a girlfriend broke up with me. Does that mean she was obliged not to? No, of course not. That's why I distinguish carefully between cases where I feel a person is legally obliged not to do something (where the act would violate another person's rights), and cases where the suffering caused is not a violation of rights.

Kalailan wrote:if someone you hate would make a site similar to textkit, would you then do all the things you stated you don't do out of respect to jeff?


Maybe.

Kalailan wrote:i will try to some it in a sentence:

i don't want to have a right to be respected; i want to be rsepected.


Well, doesn't everybody? Iesu Christos, do I have to agree completely with Jeff's opinion on intellectual property in order to respect him?
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Postby Emma_85 » Fri Jan 09, 2004 6:58 pm

Kalailan wrote:
The use of the term 'right' here bothers me.


I'm use the term "right" to mean something that others are legally obliged, upon threat of force, to honor. This is to distinguish between what I think people should be obliged to do or not do, and what is honorable or nice.


I think Kalailan was right to be bothered by the term. Your definition is not everyone's definition (as mine is not everyone's definition either). It's a difficult word as people can and do use it differently.
If you are legally obliged to do something I would not call that 'right', because in my vocabulary that word is reserved for what is morally right. A government can make a law that says all citizens demonstrating against the government must be shot. That is a harsh example, but a soldier would be legally bound to shoot someone demonstrating, and you would say he would have acted right, where as I would claim him to have acted wrongly.
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Postby mingshey » Sat Jan 10, 2004 12:33 am

Episcopus wrote:If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)


Another similar case would be like this. I have a copy of Smyth's Greek Grammar I bought from Amazon. It is a copyrighted version. Let me suppose I made a backup PDF(instead of downloading the copyright extinguished version from Textkit) for an unexpected damage to the book. And a friend of mine also has the book. If he wants the backup for the same reason and he can't make the backup for himself. So he ask me to give a copy of the backup file. Is it wrong to give it to him?
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Postby chad » Sat Jan 10, 2004 6:00 am

all these grey-area hypotheticals... this sounds exactly like a law school class discussion hehehe :)
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Postby Keesa » Sat Jan 10, 2004 12:58 pm

I love law school classes! :D

At least...I think I do. I don't think I've ever actually been in one...
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Postby tdominus » Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:42 pm

Episcopus wrote:If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)


In that case, so long as you made a copy of the public-domain book, then you could do so without infringing on copyright.

However, copying the file from textkit and distributing it would be a breach of copyright, even if you own the original book, since Jeff would hold the copyright to the derivative digital work, though not to the original public domain book.
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Postby tdominus » Sat Jan 10, 2004 1:44 pm

mingshey wrote:
Episcopus wrote:If I have the original D'Ooge book, is it illegal to give some one a printed version rather than the lovely but slightly fragile book, whilst telling them of the site whence I firstly became aware of the book, and where they may learn great things courtesy of jeff...

Not that I have or any one whom I know would want the D'Ooge book :)


Another similar case would be like this. I have a copy of Smyth's Greek Grammar I bought from Amazon. It is a copyrighted version. Let me suppose I made a backup PDF(instead of downloading the copyright extinguished version from Textkit) for an unexpected damage to the book. And a friend of mine also has the book. If he wants the backup for the same reason and he can't make the backup for himself. So he ask me to give a copy of the backup file. Is it wrong to give it to him?


I believe that would be a breach of copyright, at least in most countries (though perhaps not in Korea).

As for right or wrong, that's another issue entirely.
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Postby Kalailan » Sat Jan 10, 2004 9:57 pm

tdominus wrote:
As for right or wrong, that's another issue entirely.


it is true, but is not the one fraught with the other?

In my opinion this debate is too much on the legal side.
the more important issue here is moral.

<moral rules!>
or as they would say in slang hebrew:
Moral Imperia!
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Postby Lex » Mon Jan 12, 2004 3:29 pm

Emma_85 wrote:I think Kalailan was right to be bothered by the term. Your definition is not everyone's definition (as mine is not everyone's definition either). It's a difficult word as people can and do use it differently.


True, people have screwed up the original meaning of the word "rights" almost beyond recognition. Mostly socialists who think that people have the right to all sorts of things that they really don't. :wink: But Kalailan seems to be bothered by more than my definition of the word. He seems to be bothered by my distinguishing between moral duties and legal duties at all! I think it's very important that this be done. We must have social boundaries that people cannot cross, upon threat of force. Those I call "rights". But we must also have moral boundaries that people get to decide for themselves. If people are not allowed to decide any moral boundaries for themselves, the world would become a politically correct hell.

To get back to files on the Internet, I wouldn't mirror TextKit PDFs on a separate server because I like Jeff and respect his wishes (i.e. I feel a moral duty to Jeff), even though I don't think I am legally bound not to mirror them. I might one day mirror the files I screenscraped from Perseus because I don't feel the same moral duty with respect to them (because they purposely make it a PITA to save those files for reading offline).

Emma_85 wrote:If you are legally obliged to do something I would not call that 'right', because in my vocabulary that word is reserved for what is morally right. A government can make a law that says all citizens demonstrating against the government must be shot. That is a harsh example, but a soldier would be legally bound to shoot someone demonstrating, and you would say he would have acted right, where as I would claim him to have acted wrongly.


Well, no, because my conception of legal rights and duties does not depend on what a particular government says. I am not a legal positivist who believes that it is my legal duty to obey any law a government passes. I am sorta kinda a natural law person (not strictly, because the theory has a lot of problems, but I won't belabor this point because this thread has gone far enough afield already).

My distinction between legal and moral duties is more like this; I believe I have a legal duty to not steal your car, for instance. That means that if I attempt to do so, others are justified in using force to prevent me from doing so or to take my ill-gotten gains away from me and return them to you. It doesn't matter whether a government says this is justified or not; it just is.

A moral duty, on the other hand, would be something like giving to charity. I might feel that it is my moral duty to do that. But, since it's not my legal duty to do that, if somebody forces me to do so, that would be unjust. And again, it doesn't matter whether a government says it is my legal duty to donate to certain charities or not; it just isn't.

Wow. This thread has gotten deep. To get back to classics for a sec; I just bought a copy of D'Ooge and Eastman's Caesar In Gaul, copyright 1918. This book is almost falling apart, and desperately needs to be "saved for posterity" before it completely crumbles into dust. I have a scanner, and scanned in a page or two to test. The pages were saved as rather large PDF files (>100 KB per page), and the yellowing on the pages were saved as gray. How do you TextKit PDF wizards get pages to appear as mostly blank white pages? And how do you smush PDF pages together into a single PDF book? Do you need special software for that?
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Postby Jeff Tirey » Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:03 pm

Lex wrote:Wow. This thread has gotten deep. To get back to classics for a sec; I just bought a copy of D'Ooge and Eastman's Caesar In Gaul, copyright 1918. This book is almost falling apart, and desperately needs to be "saved for posterity" before it completely crumbles into dust. I have a scanner, and scanned in a page or two to test. The pages were saved as rather large PDF files (>100 KB per page), and the yellowing on the pages were saved as gray. How do you TextKit PDF wizards get pages to appear as mostly blank white pages? And how do you smush PDF pages together into a single PDF book? Do you need special software for that?


hi Lex:

I'm still looking for a copy of that book that's in good condition - they're
harder to find.

The simplest way to to remove yellowing is to photocopy the file before scanning. This'll wash out most of the background junk and thus produce an image with better contrast and a much lower file size. Software can do this too, but all the inexpensive ones tend to lighten the text as well and the really expensive stuff runs over 1K - so I just photocopy.

It also sounds like you're scanning with too high a color scale. The more colors in the scanner the more there will be shades of grey - which adds to file size and doesn't look as nice. When scannings, scan bitonal color, and export the scan to Tiff type compression 4. Your target file size should be bewteen 10K and 50K depending upon the amount of text and other dark areas in the page.

Your scanner software may or may not have setting like this. Most of the consumer friendly scanners have basic choices and you'll have to kick around in the options areas to be more selective with your set-up. I'm not even so sure my own flatbad scanner scanner can go as low as bitonal (which I think is 8-bit).

We also move through each and every page digitally erasing the photocoy marks and all other marks that shouldn't be there - this takes real time to do but it's worth it. Those automatic speckle and noise removers just don't do a good job because they tend to remove and lighten the text, especially when it comes to the accent marks.

To create a multipage PDF you need to create a multipage tiff file. That's the easiest way. The only way I know of creating multipage tiff files from separate tiff files is with document imaging software. There could be some sort of freeware utility out there, but I wouldn't know of one because I haven't looked to see what's out there in quite some time.

Textkit uses quite a bit of document imaging, graphic, and file utility software to bring this all together.

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Postby Lex » Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:12 pm

Thanks for the tips. I'm not sure if my scanner can do TIFF format or bitonal color; I'll have to check it out.

jeff wrote:I'm still looking for a copy of that book that's in good condition - they're
harder to find.


Is it worth the time to try to scan it, in your opinion, if the book is very badly marked up with pencil and pen, and has a few pages that are so badly frayed that text was lost?
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Postby Episcopus » Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:33 pm

I'll need to do that also, with D'Ooge Urbis Viri Romae, 1895 which I recently purchased for 1 cent! ($10 shipping but 1 cent!)

Now that is stealing!

My HCP Prose Composition was in a condition comparable to that of a modern book; it smelled ever so slightly old but was amazing for such an old book.
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Postby Jeff Tirey » Mon Jan 12, 2004 4:40 pm

Lex wrote:Thanks for the tips. I'm not sure if my scanner can do TIFF format or bitonal color; I'll have to check it out.

jeff wrote:I'm still looking for a copy of that book that's in good condition - they're
harder to find.


Is it worth the time to try to scan it, in your opinion, if the book is very badly marked up with pencil and pen, and has a few pages that are so badly frayed that text was lost?


I don't think it's worth it if there are excessive markings within the text and not in the margins. Marginal writing is ok because it can easily be removed, but marking on, above and below text is much more difficult. If the markings are throughout the book - I don't think it's worth it because it's just too much work. You'll have to go through each page with an erasure. Sometimes this'll tear the pages and it's very time consuming and messy.

You can get good results if the markings are in pencil and you're willing to invest the time. The Selections from the Septuagint was very badly marked with handwritten translations above almost everyline of text. I cleaned that out because the book is so difficult to find.

But it's much easier to keep waiting or pay just a bit more for a book in better condition if you can.
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Postby Emma_85 » Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:08 pm

Lex wrote:My distinction between legal and moral duties is more like this; I believe I have a legal duty to not steal your car, for instance. That means that if I attempt to do so, others are justified in using force to prevent me from doing so or to take my ill-gotten gains away from me and return them to you. It doesn't matter whether a government says this is justified or not; it just is.

A moral duty, on the other hand, would be something like giving to charity. I might feel that it is my moral duty to do that. But, since it's not my legal duty to do that, if somebody forces me to do so, that would be unjust. And again, it doesn't matter whether a government says it is my legal duty to donate to certain charities or not; it just isn't.


The problem with this distinction is that you say your legal duties have nothing to do with the law (so they aren't really legal, but need as new word to describe them), instead you say 'it just is'. Morality is debatable, of course, but are these rights that 'just are' also debatable? From what you say I'm not sure if that's what you think, but it seems so. But how can a right, something that does not physically exist but was created by humans in their minds just somehow 'be'? The basis of these rights can only be the same as that of morals. They can be discussed and different even from culture to culture.
I know what kind of differentiation you are trying to make. I agree that it is necessary to make a distinction between what you have to do and what you can do, but in you case what you have to do has a moral basis the same as what you can do has. They are just other moral values. Ones are moral values then that must never be disregarded, where as the others are ones each one of use can either follow or disregard just as he please. Is this what you are saying?
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Postby Lex » Mon Jan 12, 2004 10:15 pm

Emma_85 wrote:
Lex wrote:My distinction between legal and moral duties is more like this; I believe I have a legal duty to not steal your car, for instance. That means that if I attempt to do so, others are justified in using force to prevent me from doing so or to take my ill-gotten gains away from me and return them to you. It doesn't matter whether a government says this is justified or not; it just is.

A moral duty, on the other hand, would be something like giving to charity. I might feel that it is my moral duty to do that. But, since it's not my legal duty to do that, if somebody forces me to do so, that would be unjust. And again, it doesn't matter whether a government says it is my legal duty to donate to certain charities or not; it just isn't.


The problem with this distinction is that you say your legal duties have nothing to do with the law (so they aren't really legal, but need as new word to describe them), instead you say 'it just is'. Morality is debatable, of course, but are these rights that 'just are' also debatable?


Sure. Pretty much everything is debatable. All I was trying to say that that I agree with you that it is not my duty to do (or not do) something just because a government has passed a law saying so. I have my own opinion about what it is my legal duty to do, of course. Other people will have different ones. Suffice it to say that I don't think it's my legal duty to not copy and share web site content.

Emma_85 wrote:The basis of these rights can only be the same as that of morals. They can be discussed and different even from culture to culture.
I know what kind of differentiation you are trying to make. I agree that it is necessary to make a distinction between what you have to do and what you can do, but in you case what you have to do has a moral basis the same as what you can do has. They are just other moral values. Ones are moral values then that must never be disregarded, where as the others are ones each one of use can either follow or disregard just as he please. Is this what you are saying?


Kinda. My conception of law is that "natural" law (as opposed to "positive" law, which is whatever a particular government happens to come up with) spells out when the use of force is just. (Of course, people disagree about when this is so.) So, if I think it is my legal duty to do (or not do) something, that means that I think others are justified in using force to make me do it (or prevent me from doing it). If, OTOH, I think something is a moral (but not legal) duty, then I think I should do (or not do) it, but that does not make it justified for others to use force to make me do it (or prevent me from doing it). I suppose I would say that legal duties are a subset of moral ones, regarding which the use of force is justified.
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reply from Perseus

Postby mingshey » Mon Jan 12, 2004 11:41 pm

This is part of the reply I got from a Perseus webmaster when I suggested disabling copy and print features for copyright protection:

We assert copyright for various reasons: most often it is to protect third party copyright holders who have participated in early parts of the library or to protect the integrity of the Perseus experience and preserve the core of our research, which is not putting texts on line, but studying how people use a digital library system. When someone removes one part of the system, we can't see how they are using the links we have constructed and it is a research dead-end. But if a user just wants to read Plato, that's fine. As you point out, the computer screen is not the best place for this, but some people, we understand, cannot afford or do not have access to, texts. That's a nice thing to provide, but is not our core mission. We wouldn't be funded if that was what we were all about: we work on linking up our materials, not constructing e-texts. So, the texts you see were a necessary part of the research, building content, but we have moved beyond being a content provider.

We have offered full text downloading in the past and we hope to be able to resume doing so sometime this year for texts which are clearly in the public domain. We have no desire to punish or stop individual users who are printing pages for off-line reading, a perfectly understandable practice. We simply don't want whole blocks of Perseus materials reappearing elsewhere because it negates the research we do on hypertext and digital libraries, and it will seriously alarm those who hold copyright over portions of our library (which it has in the past). If the latter happens, we may have to remove certain materials, charge subscription fees, or, in the worst case, shut down.
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Postby Kalailan » Tue Jan 13, 2004 2:12 pm

well lex, it seems like i misunderstood you.

now i have, and i have nothing to add to this debate.
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Postby Emma_85 » Wed Jan 14, 2004 12:45 pm

Argh, shut down! I hope it never comes to that... I didn't know the real purpose of perseus was to study online library use, that's interesting. But when they've finished studying, that means they will shut down, doesn't it? :-(
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Postby bingley » Thu Jan 15, 2004 6:11 am

Then it's up to us to find new and creative ways of using it so that they still have something to study, isn't it.
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Postby mingshey » Thu Jan 15, 2004 9:05 am

Or find other sites that provide the texts free.
http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-foru ... 1644#11644
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Postby Keesa » Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:44 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Argh, shut down! I hope it never comes to that... I didn't know the real purpose of perseus was to study online library use, that's interesting. But when they've finished studying, that means they will shut down, doesn't it? :-(


Perseus will never shut down. :evil: I need them too much.
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Postby Lex » Thu Jan 15, 2004 3:04 pm

Emma_85 wrote:Argh, shut down! I hope it never comes to that... I didn't know the real purpose of perseus was to study online library use, that's interesting. But when they've finished studying, that means they will shut down, doesn't it? :-(


That means we better get all that site content downloaded now, huh? :lol:
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Postby mingshey » Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:40 pm

Lex wrote:That means we better get all that site content downloaded now, huh? :lol:


Let's not prompt it's shutdown, will you? :D
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