So I’m over at Kinokuniya browsing the cookbook section at lunch today when I notice a well-dressed young Asian woman flipping through a very large, very expensive volume, Nothing unusual about that, sure, but then this happened:
In case it’s not clear, she whipped her phone out and started shooting the recipes, presumably to take home and try later without having to go to the trouble of buying the book (and in the process contributing a small but fair share to the shop’s upkeep, the publisher’s paper bill, and the author’s mortgage). Amazingly, this was done in full sight of a security guard.
I had thought this was a pretty blatant case of intellectual property theft, but reactions of co-workers were mixed. Some were outraged, but others argued that, well, if she had a photographic memory and memorised the recipes, would that be stealing as well?
I still think it’s theft, and if the essence of a cookbook is its recipes, it’s not much different than her just stuffing the thing in her bag and walking out the door. Even if it’s not theft, it’s in very poor taste.
What do you think?