[INDOLOGY] New Publication on Logical Thought in India

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Feb 12 00:31:17 UTC 2023

The publishing industry today is where the music industry was about two or
three decades ago.  Libgen is rather like the original Napster
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster>.  Libgen makes many books
downloadable without any regard for copyright rights or the law generally.
Publishing companies from time to time try to shut down Libgen and its
predecessors like Library.Nu <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library.nu>.
In the past few months, for example, such a publishers' consortium has
succeeded in shutting down many of the mirrors of Libgen (like
https://b-ok.cc/).  But it's whack-a-mole.  What publishers are not
responding to is the need for a new model of digital book distribution,
analogous to streamed music.  We should be able to pay about $10 per month
and read whatever we want.  Amazon is the one large company I know that has
tried this, with its Kindle Unlimited
program.  That way, everyone gets paid, and everyone can read without fear
of prosecution.

Where does that leave us?  Downloading books from Libgen is almost always a
serious breach of copyright (so always use an anonymizing VPN!).  On the
other hand, it is often irresistibly convenient.  And for readers without
access to a well-funded library system, it can be the *only* way to read a
book.  If you want to check a single page or quotation, it is hard to
justify the purchase of a whole book, especially at academic book prices.
Sometimes, Libgen can allow one to check a reference far more quickly than
by accessing the same book DRM-protected and legally accessible through the
library system.  And time matters.
There are so many books on Libgen published by companies like Brill and
Routledge that it's hard to believe they are not quietly aware of it, and
accepting it as an alternative distribution method, although of course they
would officially deny it.  So many of the PDFs are clearly publishers'
originals, not scans, suggesting at the very least that there is
uncontrolled leakage of content directly from the publishers.

We live in interesting times.  Libgen is more than merely "shadowy."  To
download from Libgen is in most cases a crime against copyright law (has
the author been dead for more than 60 years).  Just as it used to be with
Napster and early Spotify.  At the same time, the obscene profits of giant
publishing corporations like Pearson, Bertelsmann, Elsevier and Springer
and Scholastic, coupled with their unwillingness to adapt to the world of
digital distribution, make it almost inevitable that Libgen exists.

Downloading from Libgen can be handled in a manner that makes detection
impossible, and in many cases the breach of copyright is so slight, for
example if less than 10% of the book is displayed on the computer screen,
that if it came to court it might be judged "fair use."

Proceed with caution, and hope for better business models from future

Best wishes,
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