Textbook Pirates Launch new Co-op Service
Well, the inevitable has happened. An organized group of textbook pirates going by the name of Library Pirate have come up with a new way to reduce the cost of buying textbooks. Give them the funds to buy the digital textbooks you need and they will return the favor by releasing a DRM free copy for everyone to download.
They’re calling it "Hire-a-Pirate". What’s most interesting about the new service is that it specifically targets digital textbook rentals, not purchased one. I get the feeling that they are particularly irked by the expiration.
“After a little bit of this and a little of that, we strip the DRM from the PDF and contact the user letting them know the book is ready via torrent,” says LP’s admin. “The student can now carry the textbook with them anywhere for as long as they want, allowing the PDF to be easily read on any device.” And anyone else who needs the textbook can get it for free, too.
LP are also offering a free app that was developed by one of their members. Got a digital camera and time to spare? Then you can scan your paper textbook and use the app to create a digital copy which you can then upload. “LPBR will crop, sharpen and re-size the entire folder of camera scan images into one easily readable PDF book,” says LP’s admin. “It’s so easy to scan a textbook now, even a college student can do it. During our testing, we were able to scan and convert one 500 page book in under 2 hours.”
A little over a month ago I wrote a post that argued digital textbook piracy had not yet had its Napster moment. This could be it. It happened far faster than I expected, but there’s now a coordinated effort to pirate digital textbooks.
The next year or so is going to be very interesting. I’m not sure how textbook publishers will respond to this turn of events, but I will be looking forward to finding out.
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Luqman September 27, 2011 um 1:52 pm
They will respond by raising prices to compensate for "losses." The sad thing here is that, unlike traditional piracy, there is a more straight-forward connection between unauthorized copying and a "lost sale" (if you are taking a class, you need the textbook) but this masks the greater injustice done to students who are compelled to shell out for overpriced inferior textbooks because their Prof. has a deal with the publisher or some sweet-heart deal has been made with the uni (or its book store) or publishers themselves conspire to keep prices high. Pure exploitation.
Paul Durrant September 27, 2011 um 2:09 pm
It sounds to me like a way for some (proven to be) unscrupulous people to get money out of students. They could either provide nothing, or they could just take money several times for the same book.
I also suspect that various ISPs and hosting companies will be getting court orders to provide info on users, very shortly.
Bjorn Hudson September 28, 2011 um 11:01 am
"It sounds to me like a way for some (proven to be) unscrupulous people to get money out of students."
It seems to me they only want the rental price of the book and in some cases tell the student to rent the book for themselves.
"They could either provide nothing, or they could just take money several times for the same book."
Looks like they have already filled a large number of requests if you have a look on their website. I’m really curious as to how you could take money several times for the same book when you post at torrent of every book publicly after it is pirated.
"I also suspect that various ISPs and hosting companies will be getting court orders to provide info on users, very shortly."
Previous articles about these Library Pirates have demonstrated that they are hosted overseas and seem to be fairly confident about not getting caught. Honestly they’ve been operating for over a year, you would think something would have been done about them by now.