gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

gold-mine on-line source of free books

Posts: 863 Join Date: 8/17/14 Recent Posts
First I've seen this. (Found no earlier mention on DhO - using search function, such as it is)

http://www.ahandfulofleaves.org/Library.html

Contains freely downloadable PDF files for most of the books on my shelves (several $100s worth), including Connected, Numerical Nikayas, Visudhimagga, Vimuttimagga, SuttaNipata (2 copies), Analayo's Satipatthana, Noa Ronkin, Alexander Piatagorsky, Alexander Wynne, Schopen, Gombrich, Gethin, Rhys Davids, the complete PTS Dictionary, Stephen Batchelor, Gunaratana, Jean-Paul Sartre (?), loads of significant scholars most don't need to know about,...
charon charon, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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That really is a gold mine - thanks for signposting! 
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Droll Dedekind, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Droll Dedekind:
Also a good source, though one has to research around to get to texts.

BUT / CAUTION: some of the "mirror" sites appear to be pirate dens.

I found an .epub copy of Shaila Catherine's 'Wisdom Wide and Deep', which I suspect might not be legal.

Come to think of it, there're a lot of books in the handful-of-leaves list that I'm surprised to find offered for free while being sold on Amazon etc.
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Come to think of it, there're a lot of books in the handful-of-leaves list that I'm surprised to find offered for free while being sold on Amazon etc.

A clue, perhaps?

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Droll Dedekind, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Yes, the site is a 'pirate' den catalog of sorts. Hence the "1M" for 1 million+ books.

The ethics of 'piracy' would deserve a whole epic thread of its own.
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Laurel Carrington, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Rather odd, because those who might want to take advantage would be violating the moral code of Buddhism. I'm really wondering, though, why someone would put in the effort at collecting such a group of links (I don't know a lot about these things, news flash). What's the payoff for him or her? And (be gentle, as I said I know nothing about such matters) how does one get such downloadable copies?
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bernd the broter, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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https://sujato.wordpress.com/2015/05/20/copy-this/
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Laurel Carrington:
Rather odd, because those who might want to take advantage would be violating the moral code of Buddhism.
 You probably refer to the 'precept'" not to take what's not offered"?
There's also the perspective in tradition that Buddha's teachings are to be freely offered?

I'm really wondering, though, why someone would put in the effort at collecting such a group of links (I don't know a lot about these things, news flash).
Trying to hunt this down, it seems maybe connected with a Thai Buddhist temple in Florida. There are several Buddhist-type websites, many Asian, offering a wide range of documents freely.

Maybe a cultural trait and/or Buddhist tradition that the teachings (including commentaries) should be freely distributed. For instance, Pa Auk Sayadaw's books, those of Mahasi, of Thanissaro Bhikkhu are all freely offered. Editions ofthings like the Visudhimagga are printed by non-profit organizations (e.g. in Taiwan) which collect a couple thousand $$ donations (and print the list of donors at the back of the book – mostly small donations by individuals and families) to print a couple thousand copies to freely distribute. This is also the method at the localMahasi monastery here in San Jose (CA,USA), where dana contributions from 'devotees' finances publications, both Mahasi and U Pandita texts, and the commentaries by the local (Mahasi) monks.

What's the payoff for him or her?

Traditionally speaking, dana, distributing the Dhamma, etc. gets one punna (merit).

Look at the other side of the coin (so to speak): What's the payoff for Google (GoogleBooks) or Amazon (epub+ kindle), who are lusting after acquiring and monopolizing all sellable publications into their systems, which then can be read only on-line and for a fee.? Under this scheme, no-one (consumer) actually has or owns a copy of anything any more.  It's like "1984" plus "Farenheit 451".

What's the payoff for enterprises like Apple Computer, or Microsoft, etc., who over the years have heisted good ideas from all over the map and converted them into proprietary products ("intellectual property"), achieved virtual monopolies and extract tax-like fees from a captive audience of consumers forever (until they or the system collapses), at obscene levels of profit margin?

The latest level of marketing 'disruption'. Example of an emerging trend: John Deere (yes, the maker of farm tractors and stuff) is trying to switch over such that a buyer doesn't own the tractor, but pays, again and again, for using it.

And (be gentle, as I said I know nothing about such matters) how does one get such downloadable copies?
You mean 'how does one create them'? (Getting them in the sense of having your own copy is done simply by clicking on those links in handful-of-leaves.)
 
One can scan all the pages (on a $80 printer/copier/scanner) and create a PDF file (using freeware), for one. Some are 'epub' documents, that require an epub reader (freely available) to read, and which take special software to create, which software is also probably available as freeware / shareware. Epub documents also have an index pane, and the ability to add comments,notations, etc.

So, there we have various themes such as 'public domain,' 'intellectual property,' 'piracy,' 'freely shared dhamma,' and more…

Go at it, those who are so inclined!
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Droll Dedekind, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Laurel, I dunno if you were referring to my link or Chris's.

But, anyway, sometimes it's politically motivated.

The content is either scanned with a book scanner, or the DRM (digital rights management) was removed after buying the digital copy from whoever.

With respect to Buddhist ethics: digital 'piracy' didn't exist at that time so I think it's hasty to immediately apply those ethics (that don't quite fit) to nuanced, modern, technological issues.

Here's my own justification, YMMV: Technology has made it unfeasible to enforce strict copyright policies. Being pragmatic, parties trying to profit from their digital whatever should account for this reality and adjust their business model accordingly. See the music industry and streaming. See Kindle Unlimited. See Netflix. The comedian Louis CK sells downloads for his comedy specials for $5 on his website; many comedians are following suit. Etc. Unfortunately, a lot of content is still being sold for exorbitant prices.

See Paul Stanley from Kiss take an absurdly rigid stance on 'piracy'.
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Years ago.

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I know quite a few people who write for a living in various domains. Their work product - books, articles, etc. - is offered to the public but for a fee so that they can live on and continue to write. This includes those writers, like Bhikkhu Bodhi or Red Pine, who write commentaries or translate orginal works of Buddhism for the rest of us to enjoy. It's unethical, IMHO, to take the hard work of these people and of your own personal volition decide without consulting them to make it free. It's not hard to do, really rather trivial, but it's not the right thing to do. You can justify doing this a hundred different ways from Sunday, but it can also erode or, over time, take someone's livelihood away.

What the written product sells for, the price that has been set, is immaterial to the ethical situation. Who publishes it is immaterial to the ethical situation. These people, and their publishers, have contracts in place. We don't get to make unilateral decisions, legally, that over-ride those arrangements. 

</rant>

emoticon
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Droll Dedekind, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Chris Marti:
What the written product sells for, the price that has been set, is immaterial to the ethical situation. Who publishes it is immaterial to the ethical situation. These people, and their publishers, have contracts in place. We don't get to make unilateral decisions, legally, that over-ride those arrangements. 

</rant>

emoticon
Heinz dilemma. I'm curious what your response would be.

I can think of innumerable others. Here are a couple: the cure for cancer is published in a booklet selling for $1 trillion. Is the price immaterial to the ethical situation here? A book is out of print and extremely rare physically, but contains information that could save thousands of lives. The pdf is available online. Unethical to pirate? You don't have much money and you're not sure if this book you're looking into buying is worth the money. You pirate it, see that it's valuable, then buy it. Unethical? A book is unavailable in your country. You pirate that book, and otherwise support the author as you can. Unethical?

I assume you watch Youtube videos like the rest of us, but if not, a billion people do. Youtube has rampant copyright infringement. Have you consumed copyrighted material on Youtube? Have you purchased all the material after consuming it? If you did, does that absolve you of consuming it before you did? If you didn't for all the material, is this unethical? The same argument applies to all the copyrighted images that have been reposted illegally, and you've no doubt seen online somewhere. The same argument applies to all billion people. Do you call them all unethical?

If I buy a book and don't need it anymore, I pass it to a friend. If I download a file with Digital Rights Management, I remove the DRM and send it to a friend, but still have my copy. Unethical? Ethical if I delete my copy? Ethical if I share it with two friends? Three?

Splitting hairs? Or, are the ethics of digital information just nuanced? I don't believe we'll get very far debating ethics, considering the historical precedent.

It seems to me that the ethical situation is immaterial to the technological situation. It appears that information is impossible to restrict, contain, etc. 'Piracy' is going to happen. Whether someone selling a product works with this reality or not will, from my perspective, determine their success. See the examples in my previous post.

Every time you use a new technology you're contributing to the erosion of the livelihood of people who profited from the last technology. Our present livelihoods are eroding all the time, for almost every profession. Anicca. That appears especially as the reality of the human situation in the modern world. It's up to us to work with that skillfully, evolve, etc.

I don't claim to have straightforward answers to any of the ethical points I brought up. I dunno what section this thread is in but I'm assuming it should be moved to Morality and/or locked.
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Some of those examples are indeed very interesting and compelling ethical dilemmas but our current one here doesn't reach that level of immutability, IMHO.

I've had to deal with copyright issues repeatedly in my professional life. Authors in particular. They aren't writing cures for cancer or anything like that. Typically they're writing fiction or non-fiction, for entertainment. In the vast majority of cases they would prefer, by a huge margin, that we purchase their works from their publishers, who distribute their works using a whole bunch of different channels. If you download the free versions, illegal versions (call them what you will), then you are in their minds, stealing their property. We have intellectual property law for pretty good reasons - it protects creators, providing them with a claim to ownership and allowing them to control the product of their intellect and hard work.

My company posts a lot of original video to YouTube and we've both been accused of violating copyright and had to do the reverse, ask others to cease and desist from using our IP material. It can be slippery slope in today's online world iand it can be very difficult to manage, but care can be taken, and I think being ethical demands it. When I see obvious violations like the site originally linked to from this topic, it's a pretty easy call. 

JMHO, of course.
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Chris Marti, modified 5 Years ago.

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It seems to me that the ethical situation is immaterial to the technological situation. It appears that information is impossible to restrict, contain, etc. 'Piracy' is going to happen. Whether someone selling a product works with this reality or not will, from my perspective, determine their success. See the examples in my previous post.

Have you or anyone you know even been sued by a copyright holder for violating their IP? Regardless of the medium, paper or electronic, it can be very, very expensive to defend and the courts in the US will generally ask you to pay the legal fees for them on top of yours. The technology really is not immaterial, and even though it makes the copying easier it doesn't mean you can't get into legal trouble for doing it. And no court will accept the ease with which you copied the material (the technology) as any kind of legal defense.

My last comment, and then I'll shut up, is this - just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. It has become far, far easier to exceed the speed limit in today's modern sports cars. Does that capability eliminate the viability of the speed limit? Does the ability to speed and not get caught eliminate the viability of the speed limit? 

An IP attorney I used to work with once pointed me to this as an intersting exploration of IP law and its underpinnings:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/intellectual-property/
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Droll Dedekind, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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I guess this is my final statement too then.

Yes, my examples are clearly constructed to be equivocal. I was trying to point out the obvious that these issues get slippery fast.

I deny that piracy qualifies as stealing. The obvious difference is that nothing tangible was displaced. Yes, it can be argued that the potential profit from having sold whatever unit was lost, but that's clearly different from a baker taking a loss on his bread being stolen. The next argument goes -- "If I never would have bought it anyway, I'm not stealing or depriving the creator of potential profits". This one is slippery too, I admit. The obvious counterargument seems similar to, "If it weren't for welfare, people would be more motivated to find their own revenue streams". I don't see a clear answer.

Another interesting thought -- say a person really can't afford some digital product, and they pirate it. They like it so much that they rave about it to friends and on the internet. Some of these others can afford it, and so buy it, etc, etc exponential factors.

A further thought experiment -- a copy gun exists in the future. You point it at an object, and it copies it, virtually free. Imagine the consequences. These sort of issues are already debated on the 3D printing scene, I understand.

What if universal basic income is implemented in the future? No matter how much anyone pirates, everyone still gets their basic needs met. Does that change anything? Perhaps still piracy would deprive some people of their desired lifestyle. But, is it perfectly 100% as unethical as before?

To your speeding question: self-driving cars emoticon. More eroding livelihood for the people who profit from speeding tickets.

I should say I think the (relatively) permanent resolution of these issues probably lies in some totally different economic model. For example.
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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As Sujato points out (many thanx to bernd the broter for pointing that piece out), apparently there's no evidence that making copies and sharing them negatively impacts sales of the originals.

Traditionally, it's my impression that it's legal to make copies for one's own use, e.g. backups in case of inadvertent deletion or media crash.

Even sharing or loaning to other isn't that serious. (Notwithstanding that corporations are known to persecute individuals to assert their mastery over the poor comsumer slave-class.) 

Making and selling copies, especially on a large scale (read Chinese-style) -- that can involve serious liability.

Anyway, I've assembled quite a library of digital dhamma books, maybe 20GB or so. Amazing this digital age.
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Droll Dedekind:
Yes, the site is a 'pirate' den catalog of sorts. Hence the "1M" for 1 million+ books.

The ethics of 'piracy' would deserve a whole epic thread of its own.
We might as well take that up here –there's not much more to say about that list I copied in the OP –it's just a resource.
Small Steps, modified 5 Years ago.

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Let's not be naive. It doesn't take much effort to figure out which books are in the public domain and which are not.
Distant Admirer, modified 5 Years ago.

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Intro to Buddhism by Peter Harvey is not public domain

Neither are the Bhikkhu Bodhi translations of the nikayas
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Nikolai ., modified 5 Years ago.

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Hi Chris J Macie,

Seeing as Daniel is the owner of this site and there could be possible legal ramifications of posting direct links to illegal copies of books, it may be a better idea for the DhO owner's sake that you delete the list of books you copied from the original website. You can leave the link to the actual website in place. I have no idea about copyright, but I think this needs moderation so we avoid any possible problems for Daniel. 

Nick (Mod)
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Nikolai .Hi Chris J Macie,

Seeing as Daniel is the owner of this site and there could be possible legal ramifications of posting direct links to illegal copies of books, it may be a better idea for the DhO owner's sake that you delete the list of books you copied from the original website. You can leave the link to the actual website in place. I have no idea about copyright, but I think this needs moderation so we avoid any possible problems for Daniel. 

Nick (Mod)


DONE
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Chris J Macie, modified 5 Years ago.

RE: gold-mine on-line source of free books

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Nikolai .:
Hi Chris J Macie,

Seeing as Daniel is the owner of this site and there could be possible legal ramifications of posting direct links to illegal copies of books, it may be a better idea for the DhO owner's sake that you delete the list of books you copied from the original website. You can leave the link to the actual website in place. I have no idea about copyright, but I think this needs moderation so we avoid any possible problems for Daniel. 

Nick (Mod)

Nick,

The list was removed.

Many of the books there are not copyrighted, or copyrighted and explicitly offered for free. For instance, all the Asian translations of the works of Mahasi Sayadaw are not copyrighted (including the 2-volume (4-file) Vipassana Treatise);  all works by Than-Geof are explicitly freely-offered; and many, if not most of those by other Therevadan monks.

Some are even explicitly public domain – e.g.the one by Pa Auk Sayadaw:
"© U Dhamminda 1998
This book belongs to the Public Domain and may be reproduced without any further permission from the author.
"

It might entail a ton of effort if moderation were extended to checking every such link. Perhaps some explicit guidelines on this should be added to the DhO homepage to establish standards, and to alert all participants to this so that self-moderation can take on some of that burden.

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