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Friday, February 3, 2012

Downloading "Free" Ebooks Same as Buying Pirated DVD's?

One of the President's men was caught panic-buying pirated DVD's in a Quezon City mall recently. This was the same man whose SUV bore high-powered assault rifles when searched after a vehicular accident. The man still clings to his post.

I will cut the man some slack. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. No, I do not buy pirated DVD's. I either buy originals or borrow from friends (original or otherwise in whichever medium the film came in). But I download ebooks. Am I as guilty?

Buying pirated CD's and DVD's won't put you to jail or fine you a fortune, according to the Chief of Legal Division of Optical Media Board, Atty. Cocoy Padilla. Only those who make and sell pirated copies of copyrighted materials like software, video and audio discs can be punished under the Anti-Piracy Law.

Those who buy and own pirated DVD's, CD's, etc. are not covered by the penalties under RA 9239 or the Optical Media Act of 2003. People who buy pirated materials for personal use and not for commercial gains and activities have no liabilities under the Act.

Anti-Piracy Law is unlike the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which mere possession of illegal substance shall warrant a penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000) to ten million pesos (P10,000,000). So said Google.

Be that as it may, if downloading ebooks in open websites is not punishable by the Optical Media Law, is downloading them a cyber crime? Sheesh! This world is getting cooohhmmmplicated.

Still I should sleep soundly at night until they revise RA 9239 and make clear what cyber crimes really are. But till then I shall keep my 230 PDF books safe in my iBooks.

I thank my online sources: Project Gutenberg (;; and this ebook gold mine which I cannot divulge right now lest it be besieged by people who read my blog (about ten of them :P ). Clue: It is a Chinese website with Chinese characters. Chinese? OK, so what's new there?

I thank some of the authors, too:

T.H. White, George Orwell, Haruki Murakami, Anthony Burgess, James Agee, Evelyn Waugh, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Nevil Shute, Mary Helen Fee, Madelein L'Engle, Erich Maria Remarque, Robert Penn Warren, Philip Roth, Mikhail Sholokhov, Agatha Christie, Hans Christian Andersen, Nance Garden, John O'Hara, Jude Blume, Flann O'Brien, Ayn Rand, GG Marquez, Felix Salten, Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, GB Shaw, John Fox, Jr., Fyodor Dostoevsky, Jean Webster, Arthur Koestler, Nikolai Gogol, Willa Cather, James Dickey, Ian Fleming, Bram Stoker, John Steinbeck, Paulo Coelho, Orson Scott Card, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury, John Cleland, Ivan Turgenev, Germaine Greer, Edith Nesbit, James Baldwin, Margaret Mitchel, Michelle Magorian, Thomas Pynchon, Knut Hamsun, Joseph Conrad, Saul Bellow, Louis Sachar, The Brothers Grimm, Michael Ondaatje, William Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Walt Whitman, Thomas Wolfe, Henry Green, Kingsley Amis, Anne Rice, Mahatma Gandhi, George Eliot, Salman Rushdie, Maxim Gorky, Orham Pamuk, William Burroughs, William Gibson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Doris Lessing, Jack Kerouac, Peter Carey, John Milton, Jane Austen, Joan Didion, Daphne du Maurier, Dashiell Hammet, Dan Walsh, Hubert Selby, Jr. Richard Yates, Tatiana de Rosnay, Thomas Keneally, Hermann Hesse, Robert Keable, Kurt Vonnegut, Neal Stephenson, Lisa See, Stanislaw Lem, Ken Kesey, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moore, Moliere, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Conan Doyle, Sylvia Plath, Christopher Isherwood, Raymond Chandler, Margaret Atwood, Thornton Wilder, Elizabeth Coatsworth, JD Salinger, David Baldacci, Rousseau, John Le Carre, Jonathan Franzen, Josephine Tey, Nathaniel West, HG Wells, John Fowles, Lois Lowry, Shel Silverstein, Mario Puzo, Carson McCullers, Brad Meltzer, Sinclair Lewis, GK Chesterton, Mikhail Bulgakov, Wilkie Collins, Umberto Eco, Homer, Walter Isaacson, Sheikh Nefzaou, Albert Camus, James Cain, Graham Greene, Patricia Highsmith, Muriel Spark, William Gaddis, Stendhal, Rosamunde Pilcher, Goethe, David Morrell, Murasaki Shikibu, Colleen Mccullough, Gunter Grass, Selma Lagerlof, Aravind Adiga, Elizabeth Enright, Lawrence Sterne, Henry Miller, Iris Murdoch, Malcolm Lowry, Samuel Beckett, Richard Adams, and Zadie Smith.

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