Misguided Outrage At NY Times' Ethicist Over Ethics Of Downloading A Book
from the we're-still-having-this-argument? dept
"So, if you own the hardcover you should get the paperback for free? Different platform, right? Maybe you can use the hardcover to get into the movie version as well. That's a different platform. Maybe the audiobook as well? It's really a deeply irresponsible post. Some ethics!"But that's missing the entire point of what Cohen said. First of all, the situation he was discussing was one where the ebooks were not even available -- so it wasn't even a question of the author losing any money. And that's the key point that Cohen is making, which seems lost on the people attacking him. Morality only really comes into play when there's a question of who wins and who loses. When you need to make such a choice, that's a moral question. If there are no losers, there's no moral question to deal with. What Cohen is pointing out -- quite accurately and ethically -- is that in a scenario in which there is no loss, but only gain, then it cannot be seen as unethical. What the person above was stating is totally different. In each of those examples there is a real loss. Something scarce is taken, and that means others can't have it. But with the ebook of a book that hasn't been released in that format, that's not even a question.
It's really a question of whether or not you should be allowed to format change the works you've purchased, and there are many reasonable arguments in favor of that -- especially in situations where there is no loss in the system.