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Old 10-25-2012, 03:08 AM   #121
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I think the point that may be missed in all of this is that it is illegal for Amazon to sell certain books to those in countries where there are not publishing agreements for those particular books.
And the agrement between Amazon and the publishers can override the EU trade laws? I do not think so. That Amazon has agreements is their problem, this is between them and the publishers. But I don't think it is legal to reinforce them to the end user or the European consumer.
If I go from Sweden to UK, I can buy books and come back in Sweden freely, with absolutely no restriction. And the law does not make any distinction between goods and services.
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:13 AM   #122
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It's usually not about laws. It's about distribution rights not being granted... and licensing, like mentioned above.
It is. ToS or EULAs cannot override the law of the land. They have to respect them. It is clear that in the EU/ECC goods and service trading cannot be restricted. Car manufacturers have been heavily fined for trying to prevent people to buy cars in another country of the ECC zone. That Amazon has unlawful restrictions with publishers is their problem, not the EU consumer problem. Do you think that when you buy a book in France, the border police takes it back from you?
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Old 10-25-2012, 03:29 AM   #123
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And the agrement between Amazon and the publishers can override the EU trade laws? I do not think so. That Amazon has agreements is their problem, this is between them and the publishers. But I don't think it is legal to reinforce them to the end user or the European consumer.
If I go from Sweden to UK, I can buy books and come back in Sweden freely, with absolutely no restriction. And the law does not make any distinction between goods and services.
In that case the point of sale is in the UK. For ebooks the point of sale is in Sweden. That is why it works differently
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:51 AM   #124
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In that case the point of sale is in the UK. For ebooks the point of sale is in Sweden. That is why it works differently
Any EU resident is able to buy goods or services in any other country of the EU. There is no import: the EU zone is a unique, whole trading zone. In the UK, there was the case of a pub owner showing football games using a Greek network (she had subscribed to the Greek channel, legally). Sky UK tried to sue her, using exclusive football rights in the UK for Sky. Guess what? She won: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/25/k...l-against-sky/

"The ECJ said last autumn that national laws that prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards were contrary to the freedom to provide services."

"She took her fight for the right to use the cheaper provider to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which ruled in October 2011 that having an exclusive system was "contrary to EU law"."

I wonder why this should not be applicable to ebooks.

Last edited by zeb; 10-25-2012 at 04:56 AM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:04 AM   #125
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Amazon only shows the books with buy buttons that publishers have made available in the specific country (unless you tell them you're somewhere you're not).
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh...
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:56 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by zeb View Post
Any EU resident is able to buy goods or services in any other country of the EU. There is no import: the EU zone is a unique, whole trading zone. In the UK, there was the case of a pub owner showing football games using a Greek network (she had subscribed to the Greek channel, legally). Sky UK tried to sue her, using exclusive football rights in the UK for Sky. Guess what? She won: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/25/k...l-against-sky/

"The ECJ said last autumn that national laws that prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards were contrary to the freedom to provide services."

"She took her fight for the right to use the cheaper provider to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which ruled in October 2011 that having an exclusive system was "contrary to EU law"."

I wonder why this should not be applicable to ebooks.
It is selling that is the problem. Point of Sale was the term used. That sellers contractually are not allowed to sell in specific countries is not strange at all.
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Old 10-25-2012, 05:58 AM   #127
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It is selling that is the problem. Point of Sale was the term used. That sellers contractually are not allowed to sell in specific countries is not strange at all.
Does not mean this is legal in term of EU regulation. That Amazon has restrictions with their supplier is one thing, that they are able to reinforce them on their EU customers is another one. Would be interesting a lawyer clarifies this.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:10 AM   #128
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Does not mean this is legal in term of EU regulation. That Amazon has restrictions with their supplier is one thing, that they are able to reinforce them on their EU customers is another one. Would be interesting a lawyer clarifies this.
Why are you talking about customers here? How many time can I say that the seller is not allowed to sell in a specific country and when I buy an ebook in Sweden the sale takes place in Sweden. When I buy a paper book from amazon UK the sale takes place in UK.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:24 AM   #129
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Consider that (a) they don't know it is her calling and (b) they consider that giving additional info out to those who violate their rules gives them leverage to come back and do it again.
But they've told her it's because her account has been linked with another banned account, which would be less than truthful if the reason was actually finding a way around restrictions on buying books from another store she's not meant to.

I understand they don't want to say how they've identified the two accounts are linked, since people can then use that to tweak how they avoid the rules. That wasn't my point though, my point was, if the reason for account closure was really because she's buying books from a store she's not meant to be and/or working around the systems they have in place to protect that, they should have simply stated that as the reason.

They don't need to give detailed information about how they detected that occurring, but they should give enough information that if she knows she's never bought books from that store or the particular book/books names that are not authorised for her country/whatever, there's a reason to suspect a mistake may have been made by Amazon.

Without that information, you're left hoping amazon don't make mistakes and every company makes mistakes, especially when automated systems are involved and can trigger flags from something as simple as a data entry issue (which may not be easily spotted by the CS reps but likely would be by the customer).

You're also placing doubt into the minds of future customers about, could this happen to me, what if they make a mistake with my account, judging by those emails it'll be an uphill battle to get them to work with me to find out that mistake has been made.

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Glad she had it resolved (and that, like other stories of this kind, it was just overblown by those outside of the action), but I still advocate backing up your books.
I totally agree about stripping and backing up your books. It's the only way to be sure you will retain access to content you've purchased. Amazon really needs a more transparent review process when they close an account and you dispute it. If they need to verify you are who you say you are, take measures to do so, then when they're happy who you are, explain why they've closed your account. They don't need to give details on how they've determined it.

If it's because your account is linked to another, i.e they're accusing you of having two accounts and breaking T&C with one of them. They should tell you what your other account is (as clearly they believe you're the owner of it otherwise you wouldn't be banned) and what T&C it violated. No need to say how they determined this.

That is sufficient information imo to know if you've done something you shouldn't or if Amazon have made a mistake.

Last edited by JoeD; 10-25-2012 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 09:33 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
Why are you talking about customers here? How many time can I say that the seller is not allowed to sell in a specific country.
That is the problem. Following the spirit of the EU laws, such thing should be illegal. Of course, there might be some legal wrangling or temporary exceptions but in general it is illegal in the EU.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:16 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by zeb View Post
Any EU resident is able to buy goods or services in any other country of the EU. There is no import: the EU zone is a unique, whole trading zone. In the UK, there was the case of a pub owner showing football games using a Greek network (she had subscribed to the Greek channel, legally). Sky UK tried to sue her, using exclusive football rights in the UK for Sky. Guess what? She won: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/25/k...l-against-sky/

"The ECJ said last autumn that national laws that prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards were contrary to the freedom to provide services."

"She took her fight for the right to use the cheaper provider to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which ruled in October 2011 that having an exclusive system was "contrary to EU law"."

I wonder why this should not be applicable to ebooks.
Because it has nothing to do with laws, actually. It has to do with a contract between the author and the publisher (not the retailer), where the publisher has only been granted rights to publish in a specific country (and for ebooks, distribution = end user location). Those same rights get reflected out to the retailers (not just Amazon) and are enforced due to the author's restrictions (the author has the rights in other areas or has assigned them to someone else).

Also, you'll find that the laws on ebooks are also entirely different than for print books or any physical item (and the UK is it's own entity, despite being in the EU); Germany has price protection laws in effect (still, I believe) that take precedence, for example.

Last edited by koland; 10-25-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 11:27 AM   #132
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But they've told her it's because her account has been linked with another banned account, which would be less than truthful if the reason was actually finding a way around restrictions on buying books from another store she's not meant to.
And that is probably the extent of what they could see, at that support level. Not to mention that if you are a banned account (truly), they probably suspect you will try to open more accounts and do whatever it was that got you banned -- which can be stupid things, often, but includes fraud, using stolen cards, massive returns (I've seen some boast of ordering an HDTV and returning it multiple times to find a "perfect" one and I suspect some treat their clothing division as a rotating closet, as they do to local stores), etc.

One big problem (esp with identity) with online accounts is that if there is a problem, it can be difficult to work thru, as there is no face-to-face transaction possible.

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I understand they don't want to say how they've identified the two accounts are linked, since people can then use that to tweak how they avoid the rules. That wasn't my point though, my point was, if the reason for account closure was really because she's buying books from a store she's not meant to be and/or working around the systems they have in place to protect that, they should have simply stated that as the reason.
I'm not sure that was even an issue - in one article, she said she bough books in the US store, which is where she should have been. She bought the Kindle while in the UK, so from the UK store, gave it to her mom, then picked up a used one locally. It wasn't clear which one was replaced, but the current replacement was her second and she was trying to get it from the UK (her original source of a Kindle), which may or may not be what flagged the account (out of country replacement, since the US handles the US for now).

What you can guarantee is that no one else that tried to call Amazon was likely to get any info at all (nor should Amazon give out such info to third parties). I also doubt she received any information until it was normal working hours and it's obvious that it was quickly cleared up at that point, since she got her book access back, then.

Amazon's rules on freezing of an account for investigation have been there for years, long before e-content. And doubtless need to be overhauled, now that they have a lot of content (that they sold and that you've uploaded on your own, for many) hostage.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:21 PM   #133
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Because it has nothing to do with laws, actually. It has to do with a contract between the author and the publisher (not the retailer), where the publisher has only been granted rights to publish in a specific country (and for ebooks, distribution = end user location). Those same rights get reflected out to the retailers (not just Amazon) and are enforced due to the author's restrictions (the author has the rights in other areas or has assigned them to someone else).

Also, you'll find that the laws on ebooks are also entirely different than for print books or any physical item (and the UK is it's own entity, despite being in the EU); Germany has price protection laws in effect (still, I believe) that take precedence, for example.
Price protection is a different beast. Similarly, each country has different VAT rates for instance, but this is addressed in the EU treaties: you pay VAT where you buy, not where you live. This and price protection is acknowledged in the EU regulations. However, free trade in the EU is also a rule, which is independent from pricing. The rule is that as an EU resident, you buy anything where you want within the EU.

Now regarding the author's or publisher's restrictions: are they valid in the EU? Furthermore, can they be reinforced against the buyer? If not, not only Amazon has not the right to prevent an EU resident to buy in any Amazon outlet based in the EU (but not in the US, i.e. the .com site), but a fortiori would not have the right to "punish" them on this basis. This is extremely muddy for Amazon to do this. Outside of the EU (USA, Norway), then this does not apply.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:23 PM   #134
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What you can guarantee is that no one else that tried to call Amazon was likely to get any info at all (nor should Amazon give out such info to third parties). I also doubt she received any information until it was normal working hours and it's obvious that it was quickly cleared up at that point, since she got her book access back, then.

Amazon's rules on freezing of an account for investigation have been there for years, long before e-content. And doubtless need to be overhauled, now that they have a lot of content (that they sold and that you've uploaded on your own, for many) hostage.
I don't really have an issue with account freezing whilst an investigation is done. However, when you read the CS email exchange, they just repeat that the account is closed and there's nothing you can do or say that will change that.

Since there's a complete lack of information about why or what it is the person did wrong, they're not even able to offer a suggestion as to why Amazon may have made a mistake.

Going back to the specific case this thread is about, it sounds like she's got her account reinstated, so, was it a mistake on Amazon's part or had she broken T&C but they've given her the benefit of the doubt? Although I guess we may never know as Amazon likely haven't even told her, happy to be proven wrong though as I've not bothered to google for updates

Still, beating a dead horse really as Amazon won't change their practice and we're all, ok, perhaps not everyone, but most still going to buy from them despite this (as long as DRM can be stripped).

Just hope we never reach the day when I'm posting on here to say Amazon just closed my account and won't tell me why

Last edited by JoeD; 10-25-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:31 PM   #135
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Since there's a complete lack of information about why or what it is the person did wrong, they're not even able to offer a suggestion as to why Amazon may have made a mistake.
I'm uncomfortable with Amazon's apparent policy on that, myself. We have seen reports (believable if anecdotal) that, with enough complaining, Amazon has sometimes reversed the lockout decision, even after saying "we will not reverse this decision", which would seem to be "some evidence" that they made a mistake in those cases, or at least decided they overreacted.

On the side of "some evidence" that they didn't make a mistake, there is the fact that Amazon is a successful company with many happy repeat customers, and you do not reach and maintain that status by making a habit of arbitrarily stopping your customers from buying stuff from you, or by allowing a pattern of mistakes resulting in that to go uncorrected.

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