Saturday, May 17, 2014

Should First Sale Doctrine Apply To Intellectual Property?

Marilynn Byerly has graciously consented to allow me to repost an article she posted on her own "Adventures In Writing" blog in November 2013.

Marilynn's comments are important as the USPTO is about to host a Roundtable on the topic of copyright reform with regard to whether First Sale Doctrine should apply to digital works, and as a group of Berkeley lawyers attempts to start a "grassroots" movement to change (weaken) copyright protections under the law--which I infer is for the benefit of Amazon, Google, libraries, and freetards-- but not for professional authors.

Should eBooks Be Resold Like Used Paper Books?

The Department of Commerce is asking for comments about 
Digital First Sale and the possible changes to copyright law
 that would allow an ebook to be resold.  

Here’s my letter.

The biggest problem with the resale of “used” e-books 
is e-book piracy.  Some think that cheaper books mean less reason to 
pirate books and that’s true to a certain extent, but used e-books also
mean that authors and publishers will no longer be able to prove 
that an online copy has been stolen.

Right now, publishers and authors license their books to specific 
resellers/distributors like Amazon Kindle, BN’s Nook, and Smashwords. 
If a book is available at any other site, the publisher and author know 
instantly that that book is pirated, and they help the authorities take 
these sites down.  

These sites are fairly common, and some look like legitimate 
book-selling sites so the consumer is no wiser that they are buying
 stolen books.  Some of these sites actually sell the books, others 
are scams which steal credit card information and install viruses 
on the victim’s computer.  

If e-books are sold used, the scam sites will be able to fly under 
the legal radar.

Pirate sites will claim that their books are being given away for free 
by legal owners so they can continue their dispersal of illegal copies.  

If e-books are sold used and a site or individual can sell thousands 
of copies  of the same ebook by saying that they are selling one used,
there will be no way  for the author/publisher to prove this.  
This will essentially make book theft a crime that can’t be punished.

Even readers who want to do the right things by buying legally won’t 
be able to tell who is a legitimate reseller and who isn’t.  

Readers looking for bargains will buy illegal books instead of legal 
ones, the profit margin for authors and publishers which is small now 
will plummet to the point that publishing will no longer be profitable
for anyone, and those who make the money will have done nothing
to create books.  

Allowing the sale of used e-books will destroy all value to copyright.

Thank you, Marilynn Byerly.

My best wishes,
Rowena Cherry

No comments:

Post a Comment