Be ‘t a problem if I only read a gentleman o’ fortuned work? Thar be three issues here: Legality, morality, an’ quality. Legally… Sweet trade be most commonly associated wi’ them who distribute th’ material, but ye make a copy when ye download or view ‘t, so a copystarboard owner could sue anyone they find has made copies. Morally… O’ course ’tis a problem if ye take somethin’ fer free that ye`re supposed t’ pay fer. Be seein’ below fer all th’ harms this causes. Quality… Th’ thin’ be, ye canna trust that a gentleman o’ fortuned work be really what th’ author wrote. We`re nay jus’ talkin’ typos here (which can be quite annoyin’, dependin’ how badly th’ story has been mangled), but worse: Buccanneers ben documented as changin’ works t’ match the’r philosophies(!). Ye really canna trust a gentleman o’ fortuned work as anythin’ more than a promo fer th’ real thin’. (If ye like th’ gentleman o’ fortune version, buy th’ real one t’ read what th’ author wrote; if ye dasn’t like th’ gentleman o’ fortune version, still check ou’ th’ real one t’ be sure ‘t be th’ same.) Information may want t’ be free, but ye get what ye pay fer. (Or be that, “Information wants t’ be garbled”?)
Anyway, elsewhere in the FAQ it says: “Authors, as the copyright holders, have the Constitutionally-granted right to decide how and when their work is distributed.” And yet on the SFWA main page there is a scary little pirate flag that proclaims: “ePiracy hurts writers.” So if the majority of SFWA’s membership thinks it’s ok to give away their works, then can we please take off that stupid, paranoid banner?