PDF version online, probably not. Scan it yourself, yes. Publish your scans in any way, no. Letâs start by discussing this if it was all done offline. What rights do you have to a book you have bought? To treat it as your property and to lend or re-sell it. What you cannot do is to copy chunks of it and claim it is your own writing (copyright breach). Not are you allowed to make photocopies and give them to all your friends so t donât have to buy the book (a very literal breach of the copy-right). Can you photocopy it for your own convenience? It may be technically a breach of copyright but as long as you discard the photocopies without letting anyone else see them, no-one will ever know. Now letâs talk online. Can you scan it for your own convenience? Yes â same as photocopying. Just donât publish or share the scans in any way. Can you read a PDF that is already online? The PDFs exist in breach of copyright law because t are published. Different jurisdictions have different rules about whether readers of such material are also in breach of the law, but there is precedent for suing downloaders of copyright material with the music-downloading lawsuits that happened about a decade ago. (Purchasing the copyright separately is not usually a defence). Having answered your question, itâs time to acknowledge that the âlendingâ and âre-sellingâ of books in electronic format is a debated area. Publishers of e-books have avoided the problem by never actually selling e-books; instead t are licensed to readers, in the same way that much other software is. But the Internet Archiveâs OpenLibrary project has been scanning physical books (thus avoiding any licensing agreement) and then making them available for time-limited download, using technology to limit the number of times a certain scan can be downloaded simultaneously. Despite this similarity to the way a physical library operates, a lawsuit has been filed against the OpenLibrary by four major publishers which is still going on (see link). As the law stands, what the OpenLibrary is doing is probably illegal. But the wider question of whether e-books should be licensed or should be lendable and re-sellable is one that deserves a proper examination.
However, the issue is moot as e-books are not currently subject to copyright law; only printed books and music are. The legal framework has become an important thorn in the side of publishers. They fear it will end up taking away their main source of income as the cost of making digital editions will drop.