Category First Sale / Exhaustion

Libraries Take E-Book Lending Fight into Antitrust Territory

The U.S. library community has gotten involved in the investigation that Congress recently opened into possible anticompetitive behavior by Big Tech. The American Library Association, the advocacy group for public and academic libraries, sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee last week complaining of unfair behavior from Amazon as well as Big Five trade […]

CJEU’s Advocate General Finds No Resale Right for Digital Files

The European Union’s highest court is likely to rule that, as with ReDigi in the U.S., it’s not legal to resell digital content files without the copyright owner’s permission.

For Digital First Sale, It’s Still 2001

Seventeen years ago, the U.S. Copyright Office — Congress’s official advisor on copyright issues — published an opinion for Congress on whether there should be a first sale right for digital content: a right for consumers to alienate (sell, lend, rent, or give away) digital files, like the one that exists for physical items like […]

Blockchain Comes to E-Books, DRM Included

Blockchain technology has reached e-books. The CEOs of two startups with e-book distribution platforms based on blockchains, Scenarex and Publica, are going to appear with me on a panel at the Digital Book World conference in Nashville in early October. The similarities of their technologies indicate a direction for blockchains in the e-book world. The […]

Judge’s Ruling in Redbox Case Raises Concerns for Physical/Digital Content Bundles

A ruling from a California district judge last month impacts an area we explore here from time to time: when you purchase a digital content product, what rights do you have to that product, and are you buying it or licensing it? Judge Dean Pregerson’s recent ruling in Disney v. Redbox helps define the boundaries between sale and […]

Libraries: Be Careful What You Wish For

Last week we discussed the new “cost-per-circulation” (CPC) model for public libraries — in which they can make e-books available to patrons and pay the publisher per “loan” instead of paying fixed fees to “acquire” titles as if they were print books (the “pretend it’s print” or PIP model). HarperCollins has just become the first […]

What Does Ownership Mean in the Digital Age?

When you hit a “buy” button on Amazon, iTunes, or another digital content retail service, do you actually own what you’ve paid money for?  If you look at most retailers’ terms of service, the answer is no: you are licensing it on some terms that the retailer sets, which usually don’t amount to ownership.  In […]