After reading the thread several times, and debating with myself as to if I should post here, or not... I thought I'd try to give my opinion..
I am unfortunately, a fence sitter.. I agree with MeowChow, who said that informers and a culture where trust is undermined is not a good thing..
OTOH, I also recognize merlyn's point of view.. He expended effort to publish those books, and its only fair that he should be
rewarded financially by their sale..
Some points that others may have missed:
Its quite possible that this particular student was not aware that his "private" intranet site was being indexed by the Googlebot.
Its silly... but it does happen. I myself used to have my personal copy of the bookshelf running on a server, bound to my IP here. This guy
may have not, so he's stupid.. it doesn't deserve a heavy handed action..
Its not going to be a popular opinion here, but now would be the time to mention that I remember all too well the time that I was a student.
I lived in a country where the exchange rate effectively ruled out any sort of book from the US (heavens, some people who were working could not afford it).
Our only recourse was the library. We photocopied sheets and excerpts from books. By the same token, is this wrong ? I don't know..
All I know is that I did do it, and when I got enough money to buy a reference, I did so..others may have not..
One final thing is that this sort of behaviour is not limited to just books, but to lots of other stuff (mp3s, movies, software cracks)... can we really afford to, or should we even have to
blow the whistle on each and everyone we find ?
With all that being said, as jepri suggests, I would also probably send off an email to the person hosting the site, and point out the violation of copyright... beyond that, I don't think I'll really take any sort of action...