Strong Opinion/Rant About Legal Issues
As a traditionally published book author, I am concerned about many home educators’ tendency toward copyright infringement. I think it’s done innocently without realizing they’re infringing upon someone’s legally protected intellectual property. They’re usually just trying to help out a friend. But, for example, when sending someone a complete pdf copy of an ebook you’ve paid for, unless it says to feel free to share with others, you are committing copyright infringement. By emailing or sharing the entire text of a currently copyrighted work, you’re stealing from the person who put in the hard work to do the writing and research. (This doesn’t apply if you’re passing along printed copies of books you’re finished with.)
Many of the homeschooling resources available online have been produced by other home educators who are most likely living on a single income and just trying to make a little extra money to help their families. Most book authors don’t make a ton of money, believe me.
Think about it: Would you go into someone’s bank account and steal money from them, even if you’re struggling financially? I bet everyone would say, “No! Of course not! I’m an honest person!” Well, essentially that’s what you’re doing when you breach copyright. You’re stealing from another person’s bank account.
Set a good example for your children. Pay for the resources you use if they’re copyrighted. Teach your children to respect the hard work of others. It’s a question of integrity. (Not to mention it’s also a crime.)
There is such a thing as “fair use” but that only means sharing a quote or maybe a paragraph when writing about the work in question or writing a review. Fair use doesn’t cover sharing the entire book (or ebook). Just because something’s published online or in a digital format doesn’t make it Public Domain.
For more information on copyright laws: Copyright & Fair Use
End of rant.
~Debi (who was a financially strapped home educator constantly on the lookout for a bargain or freebies … but I was always cognizant of copyright issues and would never intentionally steal another’s intellectual property, even if I was flat broke and struggling financially)