Dutch courts lets ebook reseller stay online

Dutch publishers wanted the site taken offline for copyright infringement

Dutch publishers have failed in their efforts to immediately close down ebook reselling site Tom Kabinet.

The Amsterdam District Court ruled Monday that the reseller can stay in business, after the Dutch Publishers Association (DPA) filed a preliminary case at the beginning of July to urgently close the site for copyright infringement.

Tom Kabinet offers a platform that it says lets users legally sell used ebooks. Sellers have to declare they obtained their copies legally and agree to delete their versions when a sale is made. While the service has no way to verify whether a copy is legal or whether copies were deleted by their original owners, it does add a water mark to the ebook before it is sold in order to track down possible illegal distribution.

Tom Kabinet argued that its activities are legal under a 2012 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that permitted the trading of "used" software licenses.

The Amsterdam court said that while it's unclear whether or not the site infringes copyright when considering the case law of the CJEU, closing down the site immediately would be a step too far.

It cannot be excluded that the same rules apply to ebooks as apply to paper books, which are allowed to be sold secondhand in any case, the court said.

Moreover, Tom Kabinet's operation cannot be equated with "pirate websites," the court said. It also denied the request for a ban on the site because the publishers "shy away from all negotiations" with Tom Kabinet while the site's intention is to work with the publishers to mitigate the problem of illegally downloaded ebooks.

A copyright lawyer who represents the publishers, Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, said he was "very disappointed" by the ruling.

The judge suggested that the publishers should start legal proceedings in which questions about the issue could be referred to the CJEU, Alberdingk Thijm said, adding that such proceedings can take years. "Due to this decision, publisher damages continue to mount," he said.

The publishers haven't decided whether to follow that course, he added.

While the court did not decide if the 2012 ruling -- which favored UsedSoft over Oracle -- applies to ebooks, this decision means that Tom Kabinet can continue to offer cheaper ebooks to its users, said Marc Jellema, one of Tom Kabinet's co-founders.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legalCivil lawsuitsTom Kabinet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?