Is it legal to scan books I own in hardcover to use on my iPad?

Tome

Explorer
Hello,

I have been away for a long time. I own the majority of the 5e sourcebooks in hardcover, but find that traveling with them to play my family campaign is...cumbersome. Especially when, like this weekend, the car is packed full. I know that D&D Beyond would prefer that I purchase their “enhanced” digital files for $29.99 each. My question is ... is it legal within “fair use” to make a digital copy of a text for my personal, non-file sharing purposes. Arguably, I would not be using the hardcover and the digital copy at the same time since one is for home and the other for travel.

thoughts?
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Hello,

I have been away for a long time. I own the majority of the 5e sourcebooks in hardcover, but find that traveling with them to play my family campaign is...cumbersome. Especially when, like this weekend, the car is packed full. I know that D&D Beyond would prefer that I purchase their “enhanced” digital files for $29.99 each. My question is ... is it legal within “fair use” to make a digital copy of a text for my personal, non-file sharing purposes. Arguably, I would not be using the hardcover and the digital copy at the same time since one is for home and the other for travel.

thoughts?
If you aren't distributing it, pretty much yea(lots of in depth links in that thread covering the "pretty much"). I've sent more than one of my rpg books to various book scanning services that cater mostly to college students wanting to scan textbooks for personal use & having an OCR'd searchable version of those books while I'm GM'ing can be a huge help.

For what it's worth with those services, a destructive scan slices the binding off & scans each page flat so you get really nice quality to the scan without the crease. The scanning usually costs as much or slightly more than the book itself though
 
Depends on jurisdiction but generally yes; the crime usually lies in the act of distribution. Laws may vary locally though.
This. I don't scan the books, but as my group uses the spells, we type them into a Google Drive file so we can easily copy and paste into our binders without typing them up each and every time. This is basically the same thing. Since we are not selling them and just using them amongst ourselves, no harm, no foul.
 

dave2008

Legend
This. I don't scan the books, but as my group uses the spells, we type them into a Google Drive file so we can easily copy and paste into our binders without typing them up each and every time. This is basically the same thing. Since we are not selling them and just using them amongst ourselves, no harm, no foul.
FYI, you can just copy past the SRD spells from on line resources I would think. I guess I never thought about the legality of it though.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Most places in the US, Canada, the EU, and Russia allow personal digital copies provided you do not distribute them. Technically that includes not distributing them to the other players at your table, but you're not even worth an officers time if that's all you do with them. Some scanning services might not touch your books, just to keep themselves clear of what you might do with it.

I cannot speak to anywhere else.
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
As far as I'm aware of, as long as you OWN the physical copy, you can download digital content, despite the source, as long as you own the physical.


That is the view point on game ROMs. I would surmise it's the same for books.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Paging @Mistwell , who is an actual lawyer, and IIRC, has experience in copyright law. I hate threads like this because so many non lawyers give their opinion like it's fact when it's not.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
As far as I'm aware of, as long as you OWN the physical copy, you can download digital content, despite the source, as long as you own the physical.


That is the view point on game ROMs. I would surmise it's the same for books.
I'm pretty sure it's not kosher for books because it runs into one, inexorable fact - by downloading a digital book from someone who is not authorized to distribute it, you've participated in a copyright violation.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Paging @Mistwell , who is an actual lawyer, and IIRC, has experience in copyright law. I hate threads like this because so many non lawyers give their opinion like it's fact when it's not.
Despite being a gloomy gus, you make an excellent point. I would recommend /r legaladvice as a fair place to get in touch with actual lawyers about issues like this. A few of them are even the holy combination of copyright lawyer AND gamer.
 

delphonso

Explorer
The advice here is plenty - it's probably legal, and if it isn't, no one would care enough to hit you with it.

FYI, you can just copy past the SRD spells from on line resources I would think. I guess I never thought about the legality of it though.
Not sure, but since SRDs are incomplete and have all the same information (i.e., all SRDs will list the Orb of Dragonkind as their only example of an artifact) I'd reckon that SRDs have a list of acceptable free info from WotC. It can get you pretty far, but every SRD I've seen is missing spells/spell information - even from just the PHB.

That is the view point on game ROMs. I would surmise it's the same for books.
If I remember right - this was just an online rumor, and wouldn't hold up in court.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
Every time I play a spellcaster character, I type out the spell text by hand into my informal computerized "character sheet" - as an aid to memory.
I could equally create a "spell card" by fiddling with the format.

As long as you do not distribute it, nobody will do anything to you.
However if you charge money selling the copies, and WotC finds out, you will have hassles headaches and lawyers barging into your life.
 

Horwath

Adventurer
Many countries allow copying books for you personal use.
You cannot lend out a copy, as you can a physical book.
Also if you sell the original, you cannot keep the copy. Well, good luck enforcing that...

Off topic;
I remember buying my PHB3.0 with CD for character creation.
I Know that today it would be stupid to do so, but couldn't the books come with some "book key" that you would register on DND beyon for some reasonable fee and have that content from that book available to you. Like 5 or 10€?
Paying 30€ for a digital tool after paying 50€ for a books feels like grand larceny.

Off topic 2:
Copyright and intelectual property should return to the original 28 years of duration from publication. Or less.
Patent term is 20 years, but now copyright is 70 after authors death. And not to mention when a Corporation(Disney) gets a hold, it can last forever.
 

dave2008

Legend
Not sure, but since SRDs are incomplete and have all the same information (i.e., all SRDs will list the Orb of Dragonkind as their only example of an artifact) I'd reckon that SRDs have a list of acceptable free info from WotC. It can get you pretty far, but every SRD I've seen is missing spells/spell information - even from just the PHB.
Yes, the SRD doesn't have everything.
 

Advertisement

Top