Boekblad reported on Monday that the ruling on publishers’s appeal over Dutch used ebook marketplace Tom Kabinet will not be handed down until the middle of January. No explanation was given for the delay.
The appeal had been filed in September 2014 following a July 2014 injunction which found that Tom Kabinet’s marketplace where readers can sell DRM-free Epub ebooks to each other did not violate copyright law in the Netherlands.
That is the kind of ruling which you would expect the publishers to have appealed immediately, but instead they waited until shortly after a similar case was decided in Germany. That case was brought by the German consumer rights group VZBV, and was decided the other way.
As a result of that German ruling, the resale of ebook licenses is legal in the Netherlands but illegal in Germany. That contradiction works to the publishers’ advantage because should they lose this appeal, they will have a chance to argue the case before an EU court.
There’s no way to predict which way this appeal will go; in all honesty I thought that the publishers would win the initial injunction, and I still expect them to win.
But should the publishers lose, two or three years from now we will be reading about another ruling from the ECJ which will decide whether Europeans have the same right to resell ebooks as they do resell software.
image by ButterflySha