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Old 03-20-2010, 09:35 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Ben Thornton View Post
I'm not talking about any moral issues, rather about whether there are legal problems.
Yes (you're bypassing the site's ToS and hence your copy is unauthorised), but it does avoid the tax law issues.

pdurrant - UK law is not fully in compliance with the EU regulations.

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Old 03-21-2010, 02:36 AM   #47
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Just goes to show that tax matters and e-commerce have not quite caught up with each other (yet).
Whilst I comply with a retailers toc, which allows them to sell to me with a UK address and bank, I shall continue to do so with a clear conscience....
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Old 03-21-2010, 04:48 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by alvico View Post
Industry source says ebook geo-restrictions not legal – suggests we all rort at will

http://bookbee.com.au/index.php/2010...-rort-at-will/

Now why doesn't this surprise me?
Thanks for the link to an interesting article Alvico.

It seems to confirm many of the things that I found out when I tried to discover what our local laws really are concerning computer games. In that case in turned out that any local laws that might possibly apply had not yet been tested in local courts, with particular regard to game software. So any and all interpretations were purely speculative. The Law Society told me as much, but did kindly suggest that I might like to pay for a test case!

Some of the EULAs sounded almost reasonable, whilst others were obviously unsustainable bluff. The common denominator was that the terms that the licences tried to impose were widely ignored by both buyer and seller alike. But the bottom line was that the cops here weren’t remotely interested, and the only pressure from any quarter was commercial and internal. In other words most distributors didn’t care either way, but a handful did threaten to withdraw supply if a retailer didn’t toe their line.

The position here with books seems pretty similar, with a number of overlapping considerations, including:

THE LAW:

As the article points out, the legal position if often remarkable vague and difficult to pin down from state to state or country to country, as it hasn’t necessary been fully debated and framed let alone adequately tested in court yet. In the meantime, most people seem to operate on the basis of what they think ‘sounds legal’ or simply what they think they can get away with. If they think about it all, of course.

PERSONAL ETHICS:

Not everybody is keen to rip off whatever isn’t nailed down, locked up or protected in some way. But even those of us who are comfortable with paying taxes (after all, we use the services they pay for) and who prefer to pay our way, aren’t necessarily anal about making sure that every last cent in tax goes to the government. We’re also often perfectly happy to make our own judgements about what we’ll see as a reasonable demonstration sample and what is a blatant steal.

COMMERCIAL INTEREST:

In the real world this mostly where the ‘bottom line’ actually lives. In Australia the police are not interested in acting as unpaid referees and free nannies for everybody’s commercial arguments. Anybody who feels that their legitimate commercial rights have been infringed are free to attempt to take the alleged wrong-doer to court and thrash it out. In practice this is usually only done here where the trespass is seen as substantial, provable, and committed by somebody who can afford to pay both costs and damages.


Fortunately for me, I haven't yet been bothered too much either way by the current local e-book position. If I can’t find somebody who wants to sell me an e-book version then I’m usually happy to buy a printed version instead - or simply choose a different title. At this early stage of the game I’m not going to waste too much effort banging on about my alleged ‘rights’ because I think that they’re largely imaginary.

However, I think that some of the claimed ‘rights' of certain players in the piece are largely imaginary too. So if I could get a book from a US or UK site without too much fuss then I’d probably be happy to do so, unless I had a clear reason to believe that I was ripping somebody off.

Cheers,

Chris

Last edited by ChrisC333; 03-21-2010 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:05 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
Amazon's sales contract basically states that they can only sell an ebook to people in territories where the publisher has the rights to distribute that book. They can still sell to those people in general, but they have signed a contract saying they won't sell these products to them. That's why you can still order a pbook from Amazon to Australia even when you can't buy the Kindle edition of the same book from the same publisher. The contracts allow one but not the other.

It's the contracts that are the killer here.
That would be Amazon's problem though. The individual customer is not bound by the contract in place between Amazon and the Publisher.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:12 PM   #50
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That would be Amazon's problem though. The individual customer is not bound by the contract in place between Amazon and the Publisher.
While the customer may not be bound by that contract, Amazon may well be considered in breach of contract if they don't make a good faith attempt to prevent customers from outside the appropriate territories from making such purchases.

Disclaimer: IANAL and this is not legal advice.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:12 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
Yes (you're bypassing the site's ToS and hence your copy is unauthorised), but it does avoid the tax law issues.
The ToS is a contract between the customer and retailer, it has nothing to do with copyright authorization between the retailer and the rights holder.

You may or may not be in breach of contract (depending on whether or not those terms are legally enforceable), but that shouldn't have anything to do with copyright law.
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Old 03-22-2010, 05:14 PM   #52
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While the customer may not be bound by that contract, Amazon may well be considered in breach of contract if they don't make a good faith attempt to prevent customers from outside the appropriate territories from making such purchases.
Absolutely. I was just pointing out that it's Amazon's problem to worry about, not the customer's.
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Old 03-22-2010, 06:03 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
You may or may not be in breach of contract (depending on whether or not those terms are legally enforceable), but that shouldn't have anything to do with copyright law.
If you have deliberately bypassed measures the publisher has taken to ensure that only authorised customers can get the book, what you are getting is an unauthorised copy.

Making copies is precisely what copyright is about, and the licence (not contract) in the ToS simply spells out the allowable conditions for getting books from the site.
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Old 04-25-2010, 01:56 PM   #54
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Is the VAT passed on to HM tax authorities

As I am charged VAT by Amazon.com when I have bought an ebook - is that passed onto the UK Revenue Dept ?
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:07 PM   #55
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As I am charged VAT by Amazon.com when I have bought an ebook - is that passed onto the UK Revenue Dept ?
Where are your location?

As far as I know, VAT on Kindle books bought from EU is passed on to the relevant revenue department in each EU country. Not 100% sure, but at least I know I pay Danish VAT for the books I want to buy, which suggests to me that they are comptely aware of what they are doing. If you have specialised questions, I'd suggest you contact Amazon customer service.
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Old 04-25-2010, 03:35 PM   #56
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If you have deliberately bypassed measures the publisher has taken to ensure that only authorised customers can get the book, what you are getting is an unauthorised copy.
Geo-restrictions aren't founded in copyright law; they're founded in sales contracts. They're contracted because of copyright law, but there are no "unauthorized customers," only distributors who aren't authorized to sell in some regions.

If an UK citizen walks into a US bookstore, he can buy a copy of Peter Pan published by an indie publisher because it's in the public domain here. The fact that the publisher can't distribute to the UK doesn't make him an unauthorized customer. He could also order it online, and have them ship it to him. If the store has a policy of not shipping overseas, he can have a friend buy it for him & ship it to the UK, he still hasn't broken any copyright laws by evading the stores "no overseas sales" policies. He bought a book from a US store under US laws.

If an ebook store is authorized to sell copies, the customers aren't breaking laws if they manage to buy a copy the store wasn't supposed to sell to them. (If a store sells 200 copies of the new Harry Potter book before the release date, the customers haven't broken copyright law.) It's the store's responsibility to make sure its customers fit within the criteria their contractual agreement with the publisher allows, not the customer's responsibility to know the details of those contracts and the laws that govern them.

If I can get to a certain site using Firefox but not Internet Explorer, because the store is required not to sell to "Microsoft customers," am I breaking the law if I still use Windows?

Stores that have contracted to only sell to a limited range of customers are responsible for figuring out who those are. And if their contracts say they won't sell to "Customers in the UK, as defined by IP address ranges [X] through [Y]," then customers using a different IP range are obviously not part of that group.
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Old 04-25-2010, 06:00 PM   #57
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Elfwreck - However, the sale location for an ebook is where you are. Hence, your own country's law applies. And UK law is quite plain that for an ebook to be authorised, you must have acquired it via a method which the copyright holder allows*. This includes complying with all sale restrictions, including geo restrictions.

(*Remembering Exhaustion of Rights, but that dosn't apply to new ebooks ofc)

The restrictions on the page are not "will not sell to IP range", they are "only available to people in countries X, Y and Z". If you are not, the store simply cannot sell you an authorised copy.

I don't make the law, don't complain to me it's unreasonable!


PeteS - Regardless if they do or not, as long as you pay it in good faith you are not liable for the tax.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:57 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
Elfwreck - However, the sale location for an ebook is where you are. Hence, your own country's law applies. And UK law is quite plain that for an ebook to be authorised, you must have acquired it via a method which the copyright holder allows*. This includes complying with all sale restrictions, including geo restrictions.

(*Remembering Exhaustion of Rights, but that dosn't apply to new ebooks ofc)

The restrictions on the page are not "will not sell to IP range", they are "only available to people in countries X, Y and Z". If you are not, the store simply cannot sell you an authorised copy.

I don't make the law, don't complain to me it's unreasonable!


PeteS - Regardless if they do or not, as long as you pay it in good faith you are not liable for the tax.
Well, those of us that circumvent those restrictions are on pretty safe ground here. We have PAID for the books. So the worst that could happen to us is that they would refund our money and ask us to return the books. And I don't believe for a second that the publishers or retailer would ever sue anyone who actually paid. Let's get real. Whatever the actual legal situation might be.

The only legal action that might take place is between the distributor in your country and the publisher and/or US seller. So the only thing that would scare me is if none of the old tricks worked anymore.
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Old 04-25-2010, 10:53 PM   #59
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No, sorry, you're not on safe grounds. Under UK law, and I have a written opinion on this, that you have paid is at best no defence against a charge of copyright infringement (and indeed, you have de-facto admitted it), and at worst fraud and potentially a tax and a few other lesser offences as well.

Be not so smug.
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:09 PM   #60
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I am not being smug, but they cannot afford the bad publicity of suing a paying customer. So I will take my chances here.

As far as tax issues are concerned, I myself have always argued that EU tax issues are another main reason why sales are being regionally restricted. However, since the amounts involved are so small, there is little risk involved for the individual. But to make "official" sales to European customers a US seller would have to have a VAT collection system in place. An they probably consider that to be far too much hassle to be worth it.

However, for you EU residents -- can't be too careful when tax issues are involved. Nothing your governments care more about than collecting every single cent they can get their hands on.
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