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Old 06-24-2008, 12:36 PM   #46
Nate the great
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
That's actually an interesting question.

You live in the US, where a work is still in copyright. It's out of copyright elsewhere, and you find an electronic copy, which you massage into a form usable by MobileRead visitors. You upload it for posting, and it gets stored on a server where the copyright has expired and it's a legal download.

How much trouble can you be in for having done the conversion? And who would be likely to go after you for having done it?

I'd be more worried about possible dangers to MobileRead for accepting work from from me in that case than I'd be about getting in trouble for doing it.

Copyright infringement suits presume damage in the form of lost revenues from the infringement, and take time and cost money to prosecute. Someone would have to see real potential losses to bother.

I'm not sure I'd let living in the US deter me from doing the work.
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I can give you one example. We could legally host "Gone With the Wind" because the author died more than 50 years ago. But we won't. There is even a source file at PG Australia to work from.

One of the moderators has a legal copy, but has decided not to post it because the Mitchell estate has threatened other websites (even though those other sites were not breaking any laws).
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:43 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Copyright infringement suits presume damage in the form of lost revenues from the infringement, and take time and cost money to prosecute. Someone would have to see real potential losses to bother.
That was what I thought too, Dennis, when I asked why it mattered that Bookeen hadn't released the GPL sources for the version of Linux running on the Gen3. Nobody's lost any money as a result, so why bother? I am informed by those who claim to know, that "punitive" damages can be awarded even when there is no loss of revenue.
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:48 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
That's actually an interesting question.

You live in the US, where a work is still in copyright. It's out of copyright elsewhere, and you find an electronic copy, which you massage into a form usable by MobileRead visitors. You upload it for posting, and it gets stored on a server where the copyright has expired and it's a legal download.

How much trouble can you be in for having done the conversion? And who would be likely to go after you for having done it?

I'd be more worried about possible dangers to MobileRead for accepting work from from me in that case than I'd be about getting in trouble for doing it.

Copyright infringement suits presume damage in the form of lost revenues from the infringement, and take time and cost money to prosecute. Someone would have to see real potential losses to bother.

I'm not sure I'd let living in the US deter me from doing the work.
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Dennis

Let me answer you hypothetically. If I do the work 1.) In the US, and 2.) as a US citizen, then I am a target for an infringment lawsuit because I infringed the work in the US. As a matter of fact, I'd make an excellent deterrent (Jammie Thompson type) lawsuit target. My Nom De Plume would be on the Mobileread Download. I prefer not to do it for those legal reasons. (Not moral reasons, I see no reason to say it's immoral to violate a life + 95 copyright vis a vis a life + 50 copyright, when the whole purpose of copyright was to be a wasting asset to encourage the creation of new works. Dead people don't create new works.)
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Old 06-24-2008, 12:59 PM   #49
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Let me answer you hypothetically. If I do the work 1.) In the US, and 2.) as a US citizen, then I am a target for an infringment lawsuit because I infringed the work in the US. As a matter of fact, I'd make an excellent deterrent (Jammie Thompson type) lawsuit target. My Nom De Plume would be on the Mobileread Download. I prefer not to do it for those legal reasons. (Not moral reasons, I see no reason to say it's immoral to violate a life + 95 copyright vis a vis a life + 50 copyright, when the whole purpose of copyright was to be a wasting asset to encourage the creation of new works. Dead people don't create new works.)
That was my assumption.

The question becomes "How likely do you think anyone would be to come after you?" As mentioned, infringement suits take time and cost money, and get brought because someone sees potential losses from the infringement. In the vast majority of stuff offered on MobileRead, I can't see anyone finding it worth the trouble to go after.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:06 PM   #50
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That was my assumption.

The question becomes "How likely do you think anyone would be to come after you?" As mentioned, infringement suits take time and cost money, and get brought because someone sees potential losses from the infringement. In the vast majority of stuff offered on MobileRead, I can't see anyone finding it worth the trouble to go after.
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Ask Black Mask, or Conde Nast. Where there is a continuing revenue stream involved, there'll be lawyers. If somebody has a few million for the defending lawyers, I suppose we could talk....

What I find interesting is the chilling effect mentioned by Nate. I gather there has been no case law on the subject in Canada so far. (Is Canada a "loser pays" civil legal system?)
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:07 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
That was what I thought too, Dennis, when I asked why it mattered that Bookeen hadn't released the GPL sources for the version of Linux running on the Gen3. Nobody's lost any money as a result, so why bother? I am informed by those who claim to know, that "punitive" damages can be awarded even when there is no loss of revenue.
Perhaps. But as mentioned, bringing suit requires time and costs money. Someone has to be motivated to spend the time and money to do it. What would be the motivation?
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:11 PM   #52
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Perhaps. But as mentioned, bringing suit requires time and costs money. Someone has to be motivated to spend the time and money to do it. What would be the motivation?
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The deterrence factor. By scareing the people to not make public domain titles in a country available, they get to keep the market for themselves (and at the prices they choose to charge.)
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:19 PM   #53
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Ask Black Mask, or Conde Nast. Where there is a continuing revenue stream involved, there'll be lawyers. If somebody has a few million for the defending lawyers, I suppose we could talk....
I know the proprietor of Blackmask. There hadn't been a continuing revenue stream on the properties for years. CN went after him because they hoped to generate some by licensing the Shadow and Doc Savage characters for movie deals for multi-million dollar fees, and wanted to establish clear title to the rights. It took them seven years to get around to doing it. (Someone at CN's parent company decided to try to mine their IP for more revenue when their numbers weren't what they hoped for.)

CN "won", technically speaking, and Blackmask went down (to be reborn as Munseys, sans the offending content), but shot themselves in the foot longer term in the process. The discovery phase was...interesting, and various things CN would probably not have made public voluntarily (like the way they bought the rights from Dent's widow for a pittance) are now on the record.

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What I find interesting is the chilling effect mentioned by Nate. I gather there has been no case law on the subject in Canada so far. (Is Canada a "loser pays" civil legal system?)
Good question. A lot of pressure like this is successful because those pressured either can't afford to or prefer not to spend the time and money defending themselves, regardless of whether they are technically in the right.
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Old 06-24-2008, 01:25 PM   #54
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The deterrence factor. By scareing the people to not make public domain titles in a country available, they get to keep the market for themselves (and at the prices they choose to charge.)
And what demand do you see for the sort of titles normally uploaded here?

"OK, I filed suit and scared people, and I now have the market to myself at prices I set. The problem is, nobody wants to buy them!"

Unless someone sees some actual potential revenue in the titles, I don't see preemptive strikes to protect them as likely.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:09 PM   #55
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I was going to do a list of books, and that was on it. Another title would have been "Selected Recipes of the Sierra Nevadas" by George Donner. Also "The Uruguayan Air Force Cookbook". But then I decided to go for the simple and obscure. That's how my sense of humor works. Plus, some of the titles were unfair.

Another good title would be "My Brother, My Lunch.". Plus a little background music always enhances the reading experience.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:39 PM   #56
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And what demand do you see for the sort of titles normally uploaded here?

"OK, I filed suit and scared people, and I now have the market to myself at prices I set. The problem is, nobody wants to buy them!"

Unless someone sees some actual potential revenue in the titles, I don't see preemptive strikes to protect them as likely.
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Let me rephrase my statement. Rather than a continuing revenue stream, replace with perceived copyright value worth litigating over. A continuing revenue stream is just the most obvious value. CN was looking at a potential big dollar sale for Doc Savage. Gone With The Wind still sells. So does Chandler and Hemingway. Kuttner and Cabell you might have no problems with (unless some publisher was just looking for a target). I'm just refusing to risk being that target. Feel free to volunteer....
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Old 06-24-2008, 05:29 PM   #57
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Let me rephrase my statement. Rather than a continuing revenue stream, replace with perceived copyright value worth litigating over. A continuing revenue stream is just the most obvious value.
I made no assumptions about continuing revenue stream. The whole question was "perceived copyright value". I see the perceived copyright value of the majority of what gets uploaded to MobileRead as negligible.

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CN was looking at a potential big dollar sale for Doc Savage. Gone With The Wind still sells. So does Chandler and Hemingway. Kuttner and Cabell you might have no problems with (unless some publisher was just looking for a target). I'm just refusing to risk being that target. Feel free to volunteer....
Various people have had no problems with Cabell and Kuttner, as witness the amount now available, like http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/c#a166

Chandler and Hemingway are tougher nuts, because they do still sell, and there's an incentive for those holding the rights to hold onto them.

Meanwhile, do as you wish. I just see less risk than you do.
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Old 06-25-2008, 01:49 PM   #58
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What I find interesting is the chilling effect mentioned by Nate. I gather there has been no case law on the subject in Canada so far. (Is Canada a "loser pays" civil legal system?)
What I understand happened with "Gone With the Wind" is that, even though it's in the public domain in Canada, its US rights-holder (and it's still a major revenue earner, seemingly) basically "bullied" a number of sites into removing it on the (highly dubious) grounds that by not specifically blocking people from the US from downloading it, they were guilty of contributing to the act of copyright infringement. Basically a case of "we've got deeper pockets than you" in the lawyer-department. Pure "scare tactics", but who can afford to risk a lot of money proving it?
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Old 06-25-2008, 02:22 PM   #59
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What I understand happened with "Gone With the Wind" is that, even though it's in the public domain in Canada, its US rights-holder (and it's still a major revenue earner, seemingly) basically "bullied" a number of sites into removing it on the (highly dubious) grounds that by not specifically blocking people from the US from downloading it, they were guilty of contributing to the act of copyright infringement. Basically a case of "we've got deeper pockets than you" in the lawyer-department. Pure "scare tactics", but who can afford to risk a lot of money proving it?
Intimidation by threat of suit is an old tactic, and not just in ebooks. Going to court takes time and money, and a lot of folks either don't have it or have better things to do with it. Easier to cave in.

And even if you have the money and inclination to fight it out, it's dangerous. This sounds like a court case could involve setting a precedent that might require sites not in the US to block US downloads of material like this. Best not go there...
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Old 06-25-2008, 03:16 PM   #60
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This is the sort of rubber hose treatment that make me fight tooth-and-nail against US copyright laws....AARGH.

(Slaps self a couple of times....Takes a deep breath).

You know, if I were hosting a Canadian web site, I think I'd open a mail-order business that mails only to Canadian addresses, selling Gone With The Wind as a e-book on a CD in every format I could put it into.....
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