In one of the answers to a question of mine the user who wrote the answer referenced a book that isn't accessible for free in the link he provided. I spend several days searching for ways to get to this book and I managed to find 2 of them. I decided to share this information in the comments section to his answer but the problem is I'm not very sure is posting such information very legal in the US-the country where the SE servers are located?

I couldn't find the book available for free on a "safe" (e.g. legal in any country) server, so I looked for alternative ways to get it and I found them in a torrent tracker. I have no problems using file sharing in my own country (which isn't in the West) so I can get quite a few books in that way but, then, when I thought of it in the perspective of someone living in a country where this can be the grounds for a lawsuit I though I should mention the risks, so, I wrote a second comment after the first warning people to think twice before using my links. I wonder did I do the right thing or may be I shouldn't have mentioned these links in the first place? What is the policy of SE on that matter?

I have read of cases where students have been expelled from campuses for file sharing and poor people getting sued for millions of dollars by the MPAA in the states but I have never been there, so, I really have no idea how bad is the situation there on file sharing and did I do something wrong here? If this was in my country I would have had no problems whatsoever posting that link but I don't know how are things on file sharing internationally and what harm can it bring to someone who just clicks on the link if his/hers computer is in some educational institution and is monitored by the local authorities. In my country we use trackers often and share many books and other materials with each other and I know many other people in poorer countries do it but I want to know what you on Chemistry SE think about posting links to such sources and file sharing of materials related to chemistry? Are there any rules for it?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I’m not sure I’ve got my thoughts together enough to write up a full answer but this would be a big no-no. The torrent itself is the minor issue; the major one is linking to a copyrighted work without permission of the copyright holder. $\endgroup$ – Jan Oct 29 '17 at 1:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ By the way, that reference the user provided is only a secondary reference. I’m guessing the actual work they want to reference is Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 1992, 31, 654–656. DOI: 10.1002/anie.199206541. $\endgroup$ – Jan Oct 30 '17 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that was indeed helpful! $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Nov 1 '17 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ Related/ duplicate: chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/q/3634/4945 $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Nov 16 '17 at 10:33

Even if it is legal in your country, it is highly unethical. In my opinion this is stealing of copyrighted material and this should under no circumstances be allowed on our site. And one step further, advertising ways of obtaining copyrighted content in a nefarious way should also not be allowed.

While I strongly believe that all science should be OpenAccess, I equally as strong believe that copyright must be maintained. If an author chooses to not make his books or articles available for free, then that has to be respected.

(I am not sure if, and if yes, where this is stated in the terms of service agreement, or on meta.se, because I have not yet done the research. In any case this is - in my opinion - common sense. I will come back to it if I am able to dig anything up on the matter.)

  • $\begingroup$ Let me just rephrase it in that way @Martin-here in Bulgaria the law enforcement is kind of lousy on many issues. I don't want to turn such a question into a political or legal debate but I think you people here are intelligent enough to understand that not all countries in the world care about the issues you do. This country has gigantic problems in almost any sphere of social life-from rampant corruption all the way to health care malfunctions so a few chemists sharing some books on the Internet is not an issue any policemen would want to tackle. We have bigger problems here. $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Oct 29 '17 at 11:21
  • $\begingroup$ @YordanYordanov even if you don't face punishment, it is unethical to do what you did. I think you are intelligent to see that it is unethical, and as such you should draw your conclusions from that. If you want to continue using these methods, then please don't advertise it here. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Oct 29 '17 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ This is why if it was a server in my country this is exactly what I would have done, but then when I thought about it, I saw that may be you in the more so-called "developed" parts of the world would think of the matter in an entire different ways and I decided to write an additional comment after it. It took me some efforts to get to this book and I'm in a dilemma should I advice others how to obtain it or is it better to keep out to myself. If you live in the US you may have troubles doing what I do here but don't think you are the only people in the world and your rules apply everywhere. $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Oct 29 '17 at 11:27
  • $\begingroup$ I also think it is unethical to have one part of the world living in 2-story houses with swimming pools in front as the average while in other parts having electricity is a luxury but that is an entirely different matter. I think some of you people would need to understand that not everybody in the world has your salaries and quality of life to allow himself/herself what you regard as the norm and until the world is so divided so would be what is considered ethical in different parts of it. How about that answer? $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Oct 29 '17 at 11:31
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @YordanYordanov You are stealing if you get a book that you have to pay for for free (except borrowing it from another source who bought it). You can buy the book in Bulgaria, it is not banned there, and you won't have persecution of you but it. You have no excuse. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Oct 29 '17 at 11:31
  • $\begingroup$ How about the price of books to the average salary here-this thing costs half the minimum wage here! Some people here work half a month for that sum of money! $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Oct 29 '17 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @YordanYordanov That is precisely what libraries and, more specifically, interlibrary loans are for. Most academic institutions have a library attached to them and these usually have a stunning variety of books in their collection. Bulgaria, by the way, is a member state of the European Union and therefore definitely a part of the ‘developed’ world. I would be very surprised if there was no EU-wide interlibrary loan system in place. $\endgroup$ – Jan Oct 30 '17 at 2:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan ,if you think this country is developed you have a sense of humor! :) $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Oct 31 '17 at 17:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @YordanYordanov I know I have a developed sense of humor but going by the list on Wikipedia, Bulgaria has a GDP per capita almost comparable to China. And you can’t deny it’s an EU member. $\endgroup$ – Jan Nov 1 '17 at 8:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jan if you think this plain GDP map indicates the real life in Bulgaria, you are in for a big surprise. The situation here is much harsher than this map shows! Basically here is a crime state. It means everything in society is controlled by political parties who are basically organized crime groups and only those people who are in close contact with them have any means. Everybody else is too poor to afford normal life! And I'm trying to do science in that country, imaginit! The only place where the EU is here is the flag in front of governmental buildings. Everything else is oriental! $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Nov 1 '17 at 18:17
  • $\begingroup$ You people go and try to live with 300 euros per month! Then, come and judge me! Average rent is 100 euros, food is 100 euros, too. Bills are about 50 euros and transport to work and back is another 20! This is what is average in Bulgaria! Now go and buy stuff with Western prices! Do you really think you can JUDGE? $\endgroup$ – Yordan Yordanov Nov 1 '17 at 18:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @YordanYordanov and also Jan: please move this off topic conversation to chat. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Nov 1 '17 at 18:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .