Students using pirated textbooks
College students are downloading pirated copies of required textbooks and reading them on their screens or printing them out. I sympathize with these students as a deeply in debt law student. Textbooks often cost $100 or more each, some semesters I have paid out well over $500 for a bunch of books that I will never use again. Apparently textbooks are not all that is available on popular P2P networks such as KaZaA, you can also get copies of the South Beach Diet, The Da Vinci Code, all the Harry Potter books, and so on. If you're really net savvy you can get even more on the IRC (Internet Relay Chat network)at a site called "#Bookz".
Envisional, a company based in Britain that tracks Internet piracy, estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 pirated titles are available on the Web. The vast majority are English-language titles...
Obviously this is all serious copyright infringement and is illegal. As can be imagined the publishing industry has taken notice and is sending out C&D letters and shutting down certain chat sites.
I recommend checking out Project Gutenberg for works that have fallen into the public domain. They have a vast library of classics (and some more recent public domain works) available for free.
Article via The New York Times.