Supreme Court Copyright Case

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by eric/, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #1
    Once again, copyright laws and their uglieness are on display:

    Hmmm. I wonder what is more plausible. Making $1.2 million selling books, or $37,000?

    Furthermore, what I'm interested in is why Americans have to pay more for the same textbooks?
     
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #2
    Both statements could be true. The $1.2 million could be total revenue for all sales, while gross revenue only from the Wiley sales is $37,000. Nothing says he sold only Wiley books, and in any case, revenue ≠ profit.

    Source link?

    Publishers set the price. They do it because they can.
     
  3. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #3
    Universities here have contracts with for-profit bookstores to run stores on campuses. These bookstores have contracts with for-profit book publishing companies. There's no protection for the students to provide reasonable priced books.

    When this happen, profit is the clear winner, and the students lose.

    The vast majority of these books cost over $100, and many cost upwards of $200 or even more. Yeah, you can sell some copies back at the end of the semester, but you often get less than 30% of what you paid for it. And since they release new editions nearly every year, half the time the bookstore isn't even buying yours back "because its no longer the current edition" even though you bought it for $189 3 months beforehand.

    It's crazy screwed up and takes advantage of students big time.
     
  4. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #4
    Well yeah revenue =/= profit, but they're both (as far as I can tell) claiming that there was revenue of 37k, or 1.2 mil depending on who you ask. There's a wide disparity between the two, and the industry tends to over estimate actual "damage".

    http://www.kesq.com/news/Court-to-h...-case/-/233092/17147250/-/qf2tha/-/index.html

    That's not the original, I forgot where I got it from, but this is essentially the same thing.

    Ignoring the point

    ----------

    Even more, you might only be able to buy online textbooks for the same price, or more, and then you can't even sell them.
     
  5. Fazzy macrumors 6502

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    i on't see how thats any different to trading? Buying goods and selling them for a profit? :confused:
     
  6. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #6
    I have real respect for professors who go out of their way to find free or discounted texts to base their curriculum on. The textbook industry has a legion of consumers who hate them, there's going to be repercussions when everything goes digital. No one feels bad about stealing your digital wares if you were treating people like scum for years, ask the record industry.
     
  7. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #7
    Exactly.

    But take it a step further and think about this in relation to digital goods.

    Most people have a disconnect at that point, though, hence anti-piracy movements.
     
  8. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #8
    There's also the issue of licensing vs buying. Physical texts shouldn't be protected by this though. I hope they hand the publishers their ass.
     
  9. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #9
    The reason why this one is interesting is the impact it could possibly have on other areas of re-selling.

    At heart is the first sale doctrine. Copyright law allows the Copyright holders to be only guaranteed to profit from the first sale. Take music CDs for instance. Record Companies/Artists can usually only profit from the first sale of that CD (unless they of course are in the reselling business). It is completely legal for the consumer to resell those items.

    The publisher is arguing that First Sale doctrine doesn't apply to goods produced outside of the US. Therefore in order to sell those books in the US the Thai-Guy violated Copyright law because he did not have the publishing company's permission..... and that they didn't have a way of profiting from his sales.

    This can be a slippery slope. Think of the other areas possibly affected. Clothing, Jewelry, software, etc etc.

    Hopefully the Supreme Court is thinking of all of these things while they are sorting through this.
     
  10. MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #10
    Who buys textbooks books anymore? It's not like a free market should be enforcing retarded text book content onto students especially when Google is a more than adequate replacement. :confused:

    Wait, never-mind. Sometimes I forget NZ has more practical freedoms than the US for all of our socialist policy. :rolleyes:

    Just pirate the books.


    The good lecturers are usually the ones who use free teaching resources and not using a Textbook like a Crutch.
     
  11. AhmedFaisal, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2013
  12. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Silly non-sequitir. Socialism/practical freedoms have no place in this conversation. If a college student in the US does not want to buy the textbook(s) they don't have too (how is that for practical freedom). It might not be in their best interest to do so as their professors will base their discussions and curriculum on the textbooks they require you to have. If an E-Book has the same exact information..... THEY CAN BUY IT. If an older edition is 95% the same......THEY CAN BUY IT. If you are a rainman idiot savant and don't need text books... you don't have to buy it.

    The heart of this discussion is if reselling foreign produced textbooks in the US without permission from the original Copyright holder is legal.
     
  13. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    Agreed. I do not use textbooks for my course except for one in statistics because the author actually adds value to the peer-reviewed literature. For my other courses I have the students read research articles. It's not as though students with a little guidance cannot read and form their own opinions.

    Google is hardly an adequate replacement, but scholarly articles are. The problem with Google is that the results are sorted by popularity and by advertising fees, neither of which is a very good guide to accuracy. I don't know whether to laugh or cry about some of the nonsense my students pull off the net with Google.... Actually, that's also true of some of the academic research.... Hmmm....
     
  14. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    Unfortunately it does appear that's what these guys are trying to pull.

    The truth is that they are victims of their own pricing schemes. Sell at inflated price in the US since most college systems allow price gouging on textbooks.....Sell at low price overseas to build a larger customer base..... and hope no one else in the world tries to do exactly what this Thai man did.

    IMO the Supreme Court will hold up the first sale doctrine for foreign produced goods not originally sold in the US..... I see no reason why they would do otherwise.
     
  15. MorphingDragon, Oct 29, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012

    MorphingDragon macrumors 603

    MorphingDragon

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    #15
    [​IMG]

    I would say for most Bachelors courses, Google is indeed an adequate replacement if you're smart about what sources you select or ignore. Alternatively, you could have a good lecturer which places links on his website that covers all of the course content.
     
  16. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    The copyright thing should be irrelevant. If you buy the book here, you can resell it without issue. Why should that be any different if you are buying the book from a source outside the country?

    That said, if someone is basically running a business to make money by buying books overseas and reselling them here, they should be paying import taxes and sales taxes on these products.

    IMO this is more a case of tax evasion than copyright laws.
     
  17. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #17
    well the copyright laws still apply because you are selling a good that you didn't produce and someone owns the copyright to. Copyrights dont disappear once a product is sold. The good news that US copyright law protects consumers with the first sale doctrine. One you the consumer buy copyrighted product, you can do with it as you wish. You can trade, sell, barter with it without worry of the copyright holder trying to sue you for infringement of any sort.

    The copyright holder in this case is asserting that the first sale doctrine doesn't apply to foreign produced goods sold in foreign markets. Very slippery slope.

    So for instance let's for instance you are a foreign films buff, and you have quite the collection of movies that are wholly made and only sold outside of the US. If one day you wake up and say, you know what.... All these movies suck and I hate reading subtitles.... You can Craigslist your collection without worry of those copyright holders suing you. If the copyright holder prevails in this case, you will no longer be able to do that.
     
  18. eric/ thread starter Guest

    eric/

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    #18
    Unless of course you "buy" digital goods. Then you don't own anything. :rolleyes:
     
  19. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #19
    The implications for business go beyond that, if the plaintiff's claims are found valid and taken to their logical conclusion. Almost any business that deals in secondhand goods could potentially be affected.

    Gamestop - no more trade-ins.
    Secondhand bookstores - gone.
    Used car market - good luck.
    Pawn shops - away with you, too.

    If the first sale doctrine goes away, we've all got problems.
     
  20. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #20
    First Sale Doctrine as a whole isn't under attack.... this is specifically being applied to Foreign Produced goods not originally sold nor intended for sale in the US Market. The text books in questions were produced and sold by a foreign subsidiary of the US based publisher.

    I'd have to dig and look into the merits of the plaintiffs case... but I'm sure there is plenty that shows they may have legal ground to stand on.

    IMO, I think this case is simply a matter of the publisher exploiting potential weaknesses in the copyright laws in order to protect their business model..... which in the day and age of the internet has been showed to have some flaws.

    I hope things for the defendants way.

    In terms of the wider effects of resale... just remember that it only applies to copyrighted goods. Shouldn't kill the second hand market altogether.... just require second hand shops to exercise more due diligence.

    ----------

    Interestingly enough the tide is turning on that! In Europe the EU has stricken that sort of language from EULAs.... essentially legalizing the sale of "second hand" digital goods.

    There also seems to be interest in the US in testing ownership of digital goods and the reselling of "used licenses".

    http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-brief/65095-gamestop-mulls-selling-used-digital-games

    * ninja edit* Here is one already in the court system. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19842851
     
  21. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #21
    Supreme Court Rules Against Consumers in Costco vs. Omega

    Costco was apparently buying Omega watches overseas then reselling them in the U.S. cheaper than what official Omega retailers could. This seemed fine with Omega (hey, they got their money) until the other retailers started complaining.

    Emphasis mine.

    The article goes onto speculate that if this precedent goes national then it's another incentive for companies to move manufacturing overseas as it would give them a level of control they wouldn't have if their products were manufactured in the U.S.
     
  22. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #22
    If only that were the case. When I was in college, the economics professors wrote their own text book and sold it as a PDF. How did they prevent students from pooling their money together, buying one copy and sharing the PDF? Every student in the class had to buy their own individual copy. They tracked who bought it. If you didn't buy the book, you failed the class. I don't even know how that's legal. Leave it to the economics professors to know how to steal money from students. I had no option to not buy it and use Google.

    Then there was my Database Systems instructor and the textbook he chose for his class. The book was awful. Just terrible. The first day of class he distributed a packet of corrections to the text book that we would use throughout the semester, I think the corrections was a good 50 pages or so. Why use that awful, error filled textbook when there are probably a dozen better text books out there? The author was my professor's friend. He was probably getting kickbacks from the profits. Fortunately, that was one class where I bought the international edition for a fraction of the cost of the US retail edition.
     
  23. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Yeah I had those over here on this Illinois side at SIUE too. Those are more the exception than the standard. I only had two courses that were like that during my entire time at college.

    But that's a little off the point I tried to make anywho. The post I responded to some silly statement about socialism.
     
  24. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #24
    They're going to have to do something to address this kind of thing because it's only going to start happening more and more.

    Our world and economy is becoming more and more global. Specific products tied to specific countries is going to more and more become a thing of the past. Laws like this first sale doctrine are going to have to be updated with the global economy in mind.

    Look at car companies now for example. A Honda car isn't just "made in Japan" anymore. It's "parts made in Japan, USA, Canada, England, France, South Africa, and Australia", "assembled in USA" or "assembled in Canada" or whatever. These lines will continue to be more and more blurred as we evolve towards an even more global economy.
     
  25. SporkLover macrumors 6502

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    Indeed. It is a slippery slope. I think the big determining factor in this case to first determining which country's copyright laws apply (US or whichever country the subsidiary is incorporated/produced the texts in question). IF it falls to the other country and they don't have a first sale doctrine, then this might not be such a swell case for the dependent.
     

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