Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pirated eBooks, or just free eBooks?

A headline in a major Spanish newspaper: Piracy increases. The text says: A survey shows that 56.6% of those who downloaded a book through the Internet did it without any payment... [In Spain] we are going backwards, because while in countries like France the number of pirated eBooks decreases year after year, here, however, it increased. Next door is another story where publishers complain of their falling sales.
In this context, we should notice a couple of widespread errors:
         There is confusion between a free downloaded eBbook and a pirate eBook. Both things are quite different. For instance, when I bought my eBook reader, it came with a library of about 1000 files. (Books and files cannot be considered equivalent, for each story by Edgar Allan Poe, to give one example, was in a separate file). All these books were legal, because all of them were works out of copyright. Later on I have added many more: just now I have over 2000 volumes of classic books, downloaded from free sites like the Project Gutenberg, the University of Adelaide, epub Books, the Cervantes virtual library, Dominio P├║blico, Livres Pour Tous, Ebooksgratuits, etc. All the books that can be downloaded from these sites are free, but all are legal. However, publishers (and the media who echo them) tend to count any freely downloaded book as a pirate book, because it does not provide them with any profit.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Political correctness attacks again

University of Bologna (1088)
Since the foundation of the Western universities, starting at the eleventh century, these centers soon became places for debate, where different topics of discussion were raised by two or more specialists who defended the different sides of the issue to be discussed, after which the audience could decide for one or the other position, or for both at once.
This debating function of the universities has persisted for many centuries (we are near turning a millennium). Now, however, political correctness, this new form of censorship, threatens to end this activity in the universities.
Consider the headline of the story:
Oregon State University Socratic Club Debate Cancelled
And the first paragraph: