What cost legal purchases?
I want to buy an eBook. I'd like to buy it legally. From the publisher directly is probably the fairest deal. But I'd buy it from a retailer, if I can get it in the format I want and without DRM. The format I want happens to be ePub; it's a common, open format; little more than HTML documents in a renamed ZIP file.
So I google <title of book> ePub. The first two hits are spam links, probably trying to entrap me into downloading malware. The next link is an eBook piracy site I'm very familiar with; I know I can click there, click another link (or two) and have the book, for free, in the format I want.
But, like I said, I want to buy it. I'm going to read it, I'm going to enjoy it; someone is trying to make a living doing this, and, after all, I'm willing to pay for it.
None of the links in the next several pages are legitimately offering to sell me this book.
I'd like to come up with an analogy to describe how stupid and absurd this is. It's really difficult, though. It's not stealing- I am depriving no person of their rightful property. It's true, however, that buy pirating it, the author ultimately doesn't receive the mere pittance they would get after all of the various middlemen involved take their cut; so perhaps that's what makes it wrong. To put it simply, there's nothing in the physical world that is analgous to copyright infringement; or I'm not clever enough to suss it out.
But, wait. I could check the book out from a library (at least in theory) and pay nothing. The author would receive nothing. I wouldn't get to keep the book permanently, but I'd get to read it. Still, I could always delete the "illegal" eBook afterwards.
Alternatively, I coudl buy the book used. Amazon is more than happy to sell the used paperback for a mere $2. Certainly none of that goes to the author. And then I'd permanently own a copy, and the publisher and author would be none the richer for it.
What, then, is one to do?