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Old 09-11-2008, 09:12 AM   #1
Ea
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Question abt. international applicance of copyright laws

I have a question about national and international copyright law and jurisdiction(?). I'm looking for both a specific answer to the following, mostly hypothetical, situation and general comments about it in general.

I'm in Denmark and is a Danish citizen. In this situation I buy a book by a Canadian author, printed and published in USA, from where I also buy the book.

Now, Danish copyright law gives me legal right to copy a book for personal use. In this case, where I personally own the book, I am also allowed to make a digital copy (scanning and OCR'ing) - again done by myself and only for my personal use.
(Source: http://www.infokiosk.dk/sw9430.asp - it's in Danish)

Now, I then assume (as in assuming a hypothetical situation - not that it necessarily is so), that under USA copyright law, I am not allowed to make more than a photocopy (i.e. NOT a digital copy). I then think that since I'm in Denmark, Danish law will apply in this situation, but since I buy the book from USA, I wondered if I was right, and if international copyright law would apply?

Secondly, can the author or publisher limit my rights to create a copy to fewer rights than I have under Danish law, and in that case, how? I would assume the publisher may require I enter into a kind of contract in order to buy or read...?
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:56 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by _Ea_ View Post
I have a question about national and international copyright law and jurisdiction(?). I'm looking for both a specific answer to the following, mostly hypothetical, situation and general comments about it in general.

I'm in Denmark and is a Danish citizen. In this situation I buy a book by a Canadian author, printed and published in USA, from where I also buy the book.

Now, Danish copyright law gives me legal right to copy a book for personal use. In this case, where I personally own the book, I am also allowed to make a digital copy (scanning and OCR'ing) - again done by myself and only for my personal use.
(Source: http://www.infokiosk.dk/sw9430.asp - it's in Danish)

Now, I then assume (as in assuming a hypothetical situation - not that it necessarily is so), that under USA copyright law, I am not allowed to make more than a photocopy (i.e. NOT a digital copy). I then think that since I'm in Denmark, Danish law will apply in this situation, but since I buy the book from USA, I wondered if I was right, and if international copyright law would apply?

Secondly, can the author or publisher limit my rights to create a copy to fewer rights than I have under Danish law, and in that case, how? I would assume the publisher may require I enter into a kind of contract in order to buy or read...?
First and foremost, I am not a lawyer. Generally, laws of a nation, are not superceded by laws of another nation. There are sometimes treaty agreements by two or more nations to jointly implement a law, but that is not the same as one nation's law being enforces in another nation. Furthermore, in order to be extradited, from another country, the other country's law has to be violated, not the first. There are certain exceptions (such as war crimes) but they are few and far between.

In detail, once the book goes into Denmark, US copyright laws stops applying. Only Denmark copyright laws applies. This was the reason for the Berne treaty, to give a basis for common copyright law. But it does not supercede local laws. Now how EU copyright laws (if any) function with existing member law, I am ignorant. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:09 AM   #3
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Your own country's laws have precedence. But do not take your reader or laptop with you to the USA, you may get in trouble (even if all your stuff is legal). There are many complaints on the net of US authorities confiscating laptops and other electronic devices.
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:03 PM   #4
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Thanks both. I was certain the laws of other countries would not supercede ours, but it never hurts to ask
And then I also wondered about any international agreements.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by _Ea_ View Post
Thanks both. I was certain the laws of other countries would not supercede ours, but it never hurts to ask
And then I also wondered about any international agreements.
There may be one further point to consider. If you are discussing fiction, this may not apply, but with certain non-fiction, particularly books about technology such as encryption, there may be import or export issues with you buying the book in one country for use in another country, or taking the book to another country. The issue comes up more often with software, but books could be an issue, depending on the country.

In your specific example, a book should be pretty safe to export, as US freedom of speech protections make it allowable to export a book about technology, even if you could not export the software or hardware incorporating the same technology. The creator of the PGP encryption software ran into this, as a matter of fact, and at one point the source code was published as a paper book to get around those restrictions (http://www.mit.edu/~prz/EN/essays/BookPreface.html).

Other countries may have restrictions on technology imported, and I do not know if a paper book would get around the laws in those countries.

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Old 09-12-2008, 04:07 AM   #6
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I'm no lawyer but I suspect that you'll find the original question has more to do with the extradition treaty in force between the two nations.

UK citizens can be extradited on the request of an American court, which does not even have to provide evidence, because those are the terms of the treaty we signed post 9/11. Of course, the Americans never ratified the treaty so it only works one way.

So in the UK if you break American DRM laws it's a very real question as to whether you could end up in court in the US. The offence does not have to be committed in the US, as the 'Natwest Three' in the UK discovered to their cost.
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Argel View Post
...
UK citizens can be extradited on the request of an American court, which does not even have to provide evidence, because those are the terms of the treaty we signed post 9/11. Of course, the Americans never ratified the treaty so it only works one way.
...
Wikipedia notes under "Extradition Act 2003", specifically <here> (referencing Bloomberg.com <here>) that "on 30 September 2006 the US Senate unanimously ratified the treaty". Does this mean that since that date it now works both ways?

Cheers,
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:41 AM   #8
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Does this mean that since that date it now works both ways?
You're right, I'm living in the past - at the time of the high profile extraditions the Senate had failed to ratify it, years after we had passed it into law.

The point about the reach of the US courts remains, however.
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