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Posts tagged Supreme Court

Thirty years of time shifting: The Supreme Court decision legalizing the VCR
January 18, 2014 | 2:14 am

Today marks an important anniversary for our digital media era—an era that couldn’t have been foreseen thirty years ago, but nonetheless relies to a very great extent on a legal decision exactly thirty years old. Today is the 30th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision that declared the Sony Betamax VCR was legal because “time shifting,” recording a program off the air to watch it later, was fair use, and thus the VCR had substantial non-infringing purposes. Ars Technica has a feature article looking at the context of the decision in greater detail. This decision is crucial to...

Supreme Court rejects Amazon appeal; New York affiliate program sales tax law stands
December 2, 2013 | 4:14 pm

A few years ago, states started passing laws requiring Amazon to pay sales tax if it offered affiliate marketing programs in their state, rather than only being required to pay them if it had physical facilities there. This resulted in Amazon cutting off its affiliate programs in any state that passed such a law (such as my former home, Missouri). Amazon finally fought New York’s law to the Supreme Court—and the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, meaning that the appeals court decision affirming the law will stand. Amazon has been pushing for the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which...

Scott Turow describes “The Slow Death of the American Author”
April 8, 2013 | 2:00 pm

Libraries. The Internet. Pirate sites. According to author Scott Turow's recent op-ed piece for the New York Times, these things are all to blame for the "Slow Death of the American Author." Best-selling novelist and Author's Guild president Scott Turow discusses how all of these entities are creating an environment where authors will make less money, and entities such as Amazon will get to pocket it all. “But it is the latest example of how the global electronic marketplace is rapidly depleting authors’ income streams. It seems almost every player—publishers, search engines, libraries, pirates and even some scholars—is vying for position at authors’...

Supreme Court rules importation of textbooks legal under First Sale doctrine
March 19, 2013 | 7:35 pm

Remember the Supreme Court case about the Thai exchange student who bulk imported cheap overseas copies of textbooks and resold them in the U.S. (making over $1 million in sales) to finance his doctorate? The judges handed down a decision today. By a six to three majority, they found that the student’s importation and resale was legal under the Fair Use Doctrine. Just because the books were printed overseas did not exempt them from the right of First Sale, which means that people who buy them can resell them as they please. Ars Technica has more details on the decision. Essentially,...

Supreme Court First Sale Doctrine case could give boost to resale-proof digital media sales
October 30, 2012 | 12:00 pm

Ars Technica has a couple of great, in-depth pieces laying out in detail the facts of the matter surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court case concerning a Thai exchange student who imported and resold cheap foreign editions of English-language textbooks to finance his doctorate. Publishers contend he earned $1.2 million in revenues, and essentially set himself up as an unlicensed importer/distributor, damaging the publishers’ market for the books within the United States. The publisher plaintiff is John Wiley & Sons, which has also garnered attention for its recent lawsuits against unauthorized BitTorrent distributors of its books. The article discusses the Costco vs. Omega case, which I covered...

Morning Roundup — Stories you may have missed
October 28, 2012 | 9:00 am

E-readers kindle enthusiasm among children in Kenya (The Guardian) Supreme Court to hear arguments in case of student who resold books (CNN) Why Amazon is within its rights to remove access to your Kindle books (ZDNet) Why Google and Amazon hate Apple's $329 price tag on iPad mini (Mac Daily News) Kindle Daily Deal: Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio {and} Coraline by Neil Gaiman * * * Follow us @TeleRead Join us on Facebook  ...

European court rules used software sales legal—even for downloaded titles
July 3, 2012 | 7:20 pm

Here’s an interesting software ruling out of European courts that might have implications for digital music and e-book resale. The Wall Street Journal reports that Oracle sued a German software company, UsedSoft, that buys up and resells used software licenses from American companies. In that case, the European Court of Justice has decided in favor of UsedSoft, stating that "The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a [used] license is exhausted on its first sale.” Thus, it’s perfectly all right, at least in Europe, to sell your licensed software, regardless...

Internet media has its ‘Dewey defeats Truman’ moment
June 30, 2012 | 10:15 pm

dewey-defeats-trumanWe’ve probably all seen that famous photo of the victorious President Harry S Truman triumphantly holding up a copy of the Chicago Tribune that called the election results for the other side. For decades it has been the exemplar of the hazards of jumping to conclusions, as well as the problems of gathering facts quickly when the speed of communication is limited, But could such a thing happen in the high-speed Internet age? It seems the answer is yes. The Dewey vs. Truman incident happened because at the time the Tribune had to go to press several hours earlier...

Supreme Court rules Congress can remove material from public domain to comply with international treaty obligations
January 19, 2012 | 1:52 am

The Supreme Court yesterday issued a ruling on the Golan copyright case which we’ve discussed here a few times before. The case involved whether works that had previously been within the public domain in the USA could be taken back out of it in order to comply with the Berne Convention international copyright treaty. Disappointingly, the court ruled that Congress could indeed remove the works from the public domain—Congress did have the power to retroactively extend copyright on these works in order to bring the US into treaty compliance. The court rejected the idea that the First Amendment...

Supreme Court hears important public domain case: Can Congress remove works from the public domain?
October 5, 2011 | 11:36 pm

More news out of the Supreme Court: today it considered a case in which copyright reformers want to remove thousands of works by foreign authors from the public domain in order to “harmonize” US copyright law with international copyright standards. Ars Technica claims the case rose from the ashes of Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which the court ruled that Congress was entitled to extend copyright because "when, as in this case, Congress has not altered the traditional contours of copyright protection, further First Amendment scrutiny is unnecessary." So copyright reformers looked for cases where Congress had changed those contours...

Supreme Court strikes down video game restriction law, makes future a little safer for e-books
July 2, 2011 | 11:13 am

A few days ago, the Supreme Court struck down a controversial California law requiring restriction of violent video games to minors. Without going too deeply into analysis, the court found dubious the claims that violent games were somehow more harmful to minors than other violent media—and since California wasn’t trying to regulate those other media, it was unfair for it to try to regulate video games too. As Ars Technica’s Ben Kuchera puts it: While the California law would have added an exception to the first amendment to exclude certain content from protection, in essence...

Supreme Court also ‘divided’ on e-reader use
December 14, 2010 | 2:38 pm

scotusOn a vaguely-related note to my last story, Wired reports based on a C-SPAN clip (embedded below) that Supreme Court justices who use e-reading technology to deal with legal briefs do so in different fashions. Justice Elena Kagan uses a Kindle, but Justice Antonin Scalia is an iPad owner. Wired has some fun with this revelation, asking questions like Would Scalia see things differently if he read opinions on the monochrome Kindle? Does Kagan need a dose of iPad color, and maybe a round or two of Flight Control HD between court sessions? ...