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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Tom KabinetCivil lawsuitslegal

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?