07 Nov 2017

Is There Ever an Excuse for Piracy?

by Verlie Oosthuizen, Partner, Durban,
Practice Area(s): Social Media / Cyber Crimes |

In the last few days a PDF version of the Jacques Pauw bestseller The President’s Keepers, has been circulating on Whatsapp.  It seems that the public were concerned that the book would be pulled from the shelves and so a “pirated” copy was spread virally.  There has been ongoing commentary about the book on social media and the author has even stated that if you cannot afford to buy the book then he gave his blessing to read the pirated version.  He did preface this by saying that if you could afford to pay for the book then it would be preferable to downloading the PDF.

Ultimately due to the contents of the book the public may feel justified in downloading a “pirated” version.  Generally, any kind of copyright infringement is not something that should be encouraged in any circumstances because of the damage that it does to the creative industry.

Unauthorised copies of books, pictures, movies and music robs the artists (and of course the publishers) of royalties…. The social media space also makes it so much easier to do so and thousands of copies of the book were downloaded over Whatsapp. Rather borrow the book from somebody… there are enough legitimate copies around.  Pauw’s generosity is commendable and he can be rewarded by people buying copies while they are on the shelves.