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Old 04-10-2011, 07:28 AM   #16
Jellby
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Because with a CD you're making copies of the files; with a book you are not.
But the copies were made in Europe, therefore legally.

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When you buy a digital file legally, you have an implicit licence to make copies as required for normal use of the product - eg, copying it in from the CD into the RAM of your computer in order to read it. With an illegally-acquired copy, no such implicit licence exists, hence the act of reading it will violate copyright law.
Where is the illegality here? The book and the CD were legally acquired in Europe (bought, copied, whatever, because it's public-domain content in Europe). The book and the CD were legally imported into the US (I'm under the assumption that it's a single item, for personal use in principle). Is selling this in the US illegal then? Then selling the book should be as illegal as selling the CD.

PS. By the way, this has nothing to do with georestrictions.
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Old 04-10-2011, 07:36 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
But the copies were made in Europe, therefore legally.
I believe the original poster was talking about making additional copies for commercial sale in the US. That's what I believe would be illegal.

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Where is the illegality here? The book and the CD were legally acquired in Europe (bought, copied, whatever, because it's public-domain content in Europe). The book and the CD were legally imported into the US (I'm under the assumption that it's a single item, for personal use in principle). Is selling this in the US illegal then? Then selling the book should be as illegal as selling the CD.
Selling a book that you'd bought in Europe and taken home with you would of course be absolutely fine. Digital items are much more complicated, because the act of using them inherently involves making additional copies. My gut feeling is that it would not be legal to resell a digital file; even one that you'd brought back for your personal use, but if anyone thinks otherwise, I'd be interested to hear the arguments supporting its legality.

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PS. By the way, this has nothing to do with georestrictions.
Agreed. Georestrictions have nothing to do with this; it's simply a matter of copyright law.
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:21 PM   #18
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Do you have any reading links that point to the lawsuit you mention?
It's Costco vs Omega (or Omega vs Costco), in which Costco legally bought watches abroad and sold them in the US, and Omega claims Costco violated their copyright. (Or maybe trademark? No, it says copyright but I'm a bit lost on how that is, given that the items in question are watches.)

Some links:
Costco Copyright Case Pending Before Supreme Court Has Internet Impact

Supreme Court rules in favor of Omega:
Copyright law generally allows someone who has purchased a copyrighted work to do whatever they want with it -- that's how libraries lend books and why yard sales are legal. But part of the copyright law makes it unclear if the "first sale doctrine" applies when the product is manufactured outside the U.S. and the "first sale" is out of the U.S. It's this issue that the Court effectively failed to decide this time.
Okay, the case is over, but the precedent is blurry. If the precedent were solid, it'd mean nobody was allowed to buy *anything* copyrighted overseas and then sell it in the US; buying a book on vacation and then selling it at a yard sale would be illegal.

I think the matter of "go to Europe, download public domain ebooks, burn to disc, bring discs to US and sell them" is covered by the same laws as "go to Europe, buy books not available in the US, bring to US and sell them."
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Old 04-10-2011, 10:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Digital items are much more complicated, because the act of using them inherently involves making additional copies. My gut feeling is that it would not be legal to resell a digital file; even one that you'd brought back for your personal use, but if anyone thinks otherwise, I'd be interested to hear the arguments supporting its legality.
I think it's the same as reselling a book--as long as the copying was done in Europe. Selling the digital file isn't legal in the US; selling the CD that contains a legally-acquired file is. Making additional copies for distribution isn't legal; distributing the CDs themselves is--just as if someone had gotten a stack of free band promo CDs in Europe and decided to sell them in the US.
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