Sunday, February 19, 2023

What's In A .... Spiral?

This week, the SFWA is talking about Artificial Intelligence, therefore, I will not do so. Any reader of the alien romances blog who wishes to share online-published opinion pieces (about A I) with members of SFWA may submit links to the posts here:

And so to blog about what is or is not "derivative", with a nod to Shakespeare for the "What's in a..." part of my title. The question is not about the consequences of a name, but of a spiral binding.

Brian Murphy, legal blogger and partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz PC (aka fkks... and one has to wonder if they know what that acronym sounds like) pens a surprisingly interesting article about the legal ramifications --or not, apart from the cost of going to court-- of buying books, changing the binding, and selling the books according to Amazon's mandatory definitions of what "new" means.

Incidentally, Amazon's inflexibility with regards to truth may have cost the copyright owner and plaintiff an opportunity to prevail on a False Advertising complaint.

As Brian Murphy points out (and I am regurgitating in my own words) if you purchase a book, the First Sale Doctrine permits you to do a lot of things with that physical book, including re-selling it as long as you don't duplicate it, or transform it, or remove attribution and try to pass it off as your own original work. And more.

A few years ago, (2013) a First Sale case went all the way to the Supreme Court, when a Thai student bought legal copies of textbooks overseas, imported them to the USA where the price was higher, and resold the copies. Presumably, the books were made overseas and cost less because the costs of the materials and printing were cheaper.

Legal blogger Joe Mullin wrote a very good explanation of the decision for Ars Technica.

One might reflect that there are a lot of sharp people, and a lot of sharp practices in the modern world, and the laws have not kept up. 

Off topic, except for the conjunction of "sharpness" and "spiral binding", I'm watching the Netflix series "New Amsterdam", and in one episode the Psychiatry Chair has to explain to a parent why a notebook --intended as a gift-- was confiscated: it had spiral binding and was therefore potentially a tool for self-harm.

All the best,

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