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Books DRM EU The Courts Your Rights Online

Want To Resell Your Ebooks? You'd Better Act Fast 72

Posted by timothy
from the semantic-boundaries dept.
Nate the greatest (2261802) writes "Here in the US it is legal to resell your MP3s on Redigi, and thanks to the UsedSoft decision you can resell downloaded software in Europe. But if you want to resell your ebooks you had better act fast. Tom Kabinet launched last week in the Netherlands to offer a marketplace for used ebooks, and it is already getting legal threats. The Dutch Trade Publishers Association (GAU) says that the site is committing piracy and if it doesn't shut down the GAU plans to take it to court. Citing a ruling from a German court, secretary general of the GAU Martijn David said that the question of legality had already been settled. Would anyone care to place a bet on whether the site is still in operation in 6 months?"
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Want To Resell Your Ebooks? You'd Better Act Fast

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  • The right to read. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scum-e-bag (211846) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @07:02AM (#47343931) Homepage Journal

    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html [gnu.org]

    For Dan Halbert, the road to Tycho began in college—when Lissa Lenz asked to borrow his computer. Hers had broken down, and unless she could borrow another, she would fail her midterm project. There was no one she dared ask, except Dan.

    This put Dan in a dilemma. He had to help her—but if he lent her his computer, she might read his books. Aside from the fact that you could go to prison for many years for letting someone else read your books, the very idea shocked him at first. Like everyone, he had been taught since elementary school that sharing books was nasty and wrong—something that only pirates would do.

    And there wasn't much chance that the SPA—the Software Protection Authority—would fail to catch him. In his software class, Dan had learned that each book had a copyright monitor that reported when and where it was read, and by whom, to Central Licensing. (They used this information to catch reading pirates, but also to sell personal interest profiles to retailers.) The next time his computer was networked, Central Licensing would find out. He, as computer owner, would receive the harshest punishment—for not taking pains to prevent the crime.

    Of course, Lissa did not necessarily intend to read his books. She might want the computer only to write her midterm. But Dan knew she came from a middle-class family and could hardly afford the tuition, let alone her reading fees. Reading his books might be the only way she could graduate. He understood this situation; he himself had had to borrow to pay for all the research papers he read. (Ten percent of those fees went to the researchers who wrote the papers; since Dan aimed for an academic career, he could hope that his own research papers, if frequently referenced, would bring in enough to repay this loan.)

    Later on, Dan would learn there was a time when anyone could go to the library and read journal articles, and even books, without having to pay. There were independent scholars who read thousands of pages without government library grants. But in the 1990s, both commercial and nonprofit journal publishers had begun charging fees for access. By 2047, libraries offering free public access to scholarly literature were a dim memory.

    There were ways, of course, to get around the SPA and Central Licensing. They were themselves illegal. Dan had had a classmate in software, Frank Martucci, who had obtained an illicit debugging tool, and used it to skip over the copyright monitor code when reading books. But he had told too many friends about it, and one of them turned him in to the SPA for a reward (students deep in debt were easily tempted into betrayal). In 2047, Frank was in prison, not for pirate reading, but for possessing a debugger.

    Dan would later learn that there was a time when anyone could have debugging tools. There were even free debugging tools available on CD or downloadable over the net. But ordinary users started using them to bypass copyright monitors, and eventually a judge ruled that this had become their principal use in actual practice. This meant they were illegal; the debuggers' developers were sent to prison.

    Programmers still needed debugging tools, of course, but debugger vendors in 2047 distributed numbered copies only, and only to officially licensed and bonded programmers. The debugger Dan used in software class was kept behind a special firewall so that it could be used only for class exercises.

    It was also possible to bypass the copyright monitors by installing a modified system kernel. Dan would eventually find out about the free kernels, even entire free operating systems, that had existed around the turn of the century. But not only were they illegal, like debuggers—you could not install one if you had one, without knowing your computer's root password. And neither the FBI nor Microsoft Support would tell you that.

    Dan conclud

  • Resell them? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @07:05AM (#47343935) Homepage Journal

    I get most of my books from qbittorrent. I didn't realize they might have a resell value. A lot of my other books come from Kindle Cloud. I knew that I could loan a book out, but I had no idea that I could "resell" it.

    This is why I like dead tree books. I can do with it what I want. Hell, I can even shred it, roll it, and smoke it if I want.

  • Re:Wait, what ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @08:08AM (#47344031) Homepage

    The ruling is a German ruling, not a European ruling (Europe has it's own court).
    German rulings do not apply to Europe or any part of Europe other than Germany.

  • by St.Creed (853824) on Sunday June 29, 2014 @04:39PM (#47346163)

    Fortunately, in the EU it's been slapped down hard. If you want to have a rental license, it means recurring payments and the right to cancel the license (why do you think Microsoft is focusing so hard on Office365 with its monthly payments?). If it's a sale, you get one payment but afterwards First Sale doctrine applies and the rights of the original seller are exhausted.

    Sanest decision in years, IMO.

In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

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