Ok, this has been bugging me for a while, are the online Andrew Loomis books legal? I've searched all over the internet, and I haven't found many definent answers. I've heard that they're legal for educational purposes only, and I've heard that they aren't legal at all.
I'd love to use the books, but I'm not going to pay hundreds of dollars for one, and I don't want to use them if they are illegal. Any information you have would be appreciated. Thanks.
The books are all still under copyright, and the rights to them belong to Loomis' heirs. Many people have attempted to get the rights to reprint them, but, for whatever reason, have been unsuccessful. However, the current rights holders don't seem to be particularly vigilant about keeping scans off the net. (Note that, unlike trademarks, copyrights don't have to be actively enforced, so they haven't become public domain just because they are out there.)
So the question becomes, by downloading and/or printing copies, are you doing any harm? The current rights holders aren't getting any money if you do, but they also don't get any of the money if you spend hundreds of bucks on a used copy. I don' think it hurts the market for any future reprintings, either, as most people who have a PDF or homemade printout would gladly pay a reasonable price for a real bound book. If anything, the online availability of the books has created more of a potential market, should they ever be reprinted.
So, are they legal? No. Should that stop you from using them? That's your call to make.
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That helps quite a bit, thanks for clearing some of that up!