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Original thread was here.

Supreme Court has decided 6-3 in favor of the student.

Article overview:
http://www.nbcnews.com/business/supreme-court-backs-student-disp...

Actual decision:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/11-697_d1o2.pdf

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you can watch this really good docu about the TX SBOE deciding what to put in their textbooks Here.

it should make anyone... (more)

MDfive21 (Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:11p) |

It is illegal to import any item into USA (not just books) without the consent of the US IP (copyright or patent rights)... (more)

ananthar (Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:21p) |

No, you can't manufacture and import. Buying legitimate items, importing and reselling is different, so says SCOTUS.

RedCelicaGT (May. 25, 2013 @ 8:26p) |


Good to know. I'm surprised it's not all over the news. Maybe I need to stop watching E! channel.

Am I reading the decision correctly, that the Solicitor General submitted an amicus brief supporting the first sale doctrine geographic limitation?

I was wondering which justices dissented and found it here:http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/03/thai-student-protecte...

The 6-3 opinion was authored by Justice Steven Breyer, perhaps the justice most skeptical of intellectual property rights. The dissent was authored by Justice Ruth Ginsburg, who has long favored powerful copyright privileges. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy also joined the dissent.

The decision throws out a $600,000 damages award that was granted to Wiley.

Sorry, isn't the decision the opposite of the title of this thread? It was a victory for the right to re-sell something you purchased, not the other way around, right?

This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.

rufflesinc said:   This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.I'm sure the lobbyists already got their order now.

Let's see which congress person get bought first, I mean, sponsor the bill and cast your vote accordingly.

Ecuadorgr said:   Sorry, isn't the decision the opposite of the title of this thread? It was a victory for the right to re-sell something you purchased, not the other way around, right?

That's what the OP said they sided with the student who *re-sold something he purchased*.

ZenNUTS said:   rufflesinc said:   This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.I'm sure the lobbyists already got their order now.

Let's see which congress person get bought first, I mean, sponsor the bill and cast your vote accordingly.


The textbook industry has bigger fish to fry right now. They're getting a full frontal assault from online textbook makers who charge a tiny fraction of the cost and are offering substantially higher quality and universities are starting to make the switch.

A Pearson today is under mortal threat! The last thing they need to worry about is some 1 man importer of cheap textbooks when they have numerous companies including one founded by the founder of Sun Microsystems to literally trying to kill them.

"Today’s decision will create a strong disincentive for publishers to market different versions and sell copies at different prices in different regions," the statement said. "The practical result may very well be that consumers and students abroad will see dramatic price increases or entirely lose their access to valuable U.S. resources created specifically for them. “American publishers will face direct harm, because our markets will be open to a flood of copyrighted material that was intended for purchase overseas. By exploiting pricing models that are meant for students in undeveloped nations, importers both deny those students a full education, and threaten American publishers’ ability to do business abroad.”

"Today's decision will create a strong disincentive for publishers to gouge American consumers by selling the same content overseas for much less." my interpretation says. "The practical result may very well be that the US price and the overseas price balances out, removing the incentive for importers to re-import goods sold overseas. American publishers will be forced to adapt and move away from business as usual. In the short run, profits will fall, but they will find some way to survive. By no longer being able to gouge American consumers, executives will be denied their large bonuses and they will be forced to drive around in their one-year old S-Class Mercedes instead of being able to trade it in for a brand new one."

I've been buying "international edition" books that clearly state not for resale in the US for years... I typically pay something like $30 for a $250 book.

Every year they come out with brand new editions with minor changes to clear out the used book market and force people to buy new books... often for subjects such as math that have changed little in hundreds of years.

It is amazing how American students are being ripped off. I imagine public schools get ripped off even worse.

dshibb said:   ZenNUTS said:   rufflesinc said:   This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.I'm sure the lobbyists already got their order now.

Let's see which congress person get bought first, I mean, sponsor the bill and cast your vote accordingly.


The textbook industry has bigger fish to fry right now. They're getting a full frontal assault from online textbook makers who charge a tiny fraction of the cost and are offering substantially higher quality and universities are starting to make the switch.

A Pearson today is under mortal threat! The last thing they need to worry about is some 1 man importer of cheap textbooks when they have numerous companies including one founded by the founder of Sun Microsystems to literally trying to kill them.


In many cases, those companies are one in the same. It's not really a frontal assault if you publish textbooks, and you are also producing the online version.

The decision is good one. I am happy to see it. I think they went after this guy in the wrong way. They should have approached it as whether or not he imported these items for resale properly instead of this approach. He went commercial really, and once you do that, there is just a different set of rules you have to play by with international trade.

brettdoyle said:   I've been buying "international edition" books that clearly state not for resale in the US for years... I typically pay something like $30 for a $250 book.

Every year they come out with brand new editions with minor changes to clear out the used book market and force people to buy new books... often for subjects such as math that have changed little in hundreds of years.

It is amazing how American students are being ripped off. I imagine public schools get ripped off even worse.


My high school (back in the 90s) used to purchase used college science and math book for chemistry, physics, calculus, trigonometry, and advanced biology classes. The department heads figured out that they could buy these out of edition books for pennies on the dollar, get them rebound, and then use them for 5-10 years for well less than the cost of any other option.

Weird split of justices on this one. Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy opposed.

"Today’s decision will create a strong disincentive for publishers to market different versions and sell copies at different prices in different regions," the statement said. "The practical result may very well be that consumers and students abroad will see dramatic price increases or entirely lose their access to valuable U.S. resources created specifically for them. “American publishers will face direct harm, because our markets will be open to a flood of copyrighted material that was intended for purchase overseas. By exploiting pricing models that are meant for students in undeveloped nations, importers both deny those students a full education, and threaten American publishers’ ability to do business abroad.”

Good. We can stop subsidizing the development of other countries by selling US intelectual property at a discount.

nasheedb said:   "Today’s decision will create a strong disincentive for publishers to market different versions and sell copies at different prices in different regions," the statement said. "The practical result may very well be that consumers and students abroad will see dramatic price increases or entirely lose their access to valuable U.S. resources created specifically for them. “American publishers will face direct harm, because our markets will be open to a flood of copyrighted material that was intended for purchase overseas. By exploiting pricing models that are meant for students in undeveloped nations, importers both deny those students a full education, and threaten American publishers’ ability to do business abroad.”

"Today's decision will create a strong disincentive for publishers to gouge American consumers by selling the same content overseas for much less." my interpretation says. "The practical result may very well be that the US price and the overseas price balances out, removing the incentive for importers to re-import goods sold overseas. American publishers will be forced to adapt and move away from business as usual. In the short run, profits will fall, but they will find some way to survive. By no longer being able to gouge American consumers, executives will be denied their large bonuses and they will be forced to drive around in their one-year old S-Class Mercedes instead of being able to trade it in for a brand new one."


Perhaps they'll stop altogether. Other countries are much more price dependent and "Balancing out" may not work that well. Simply stop selling current edition textbooks in other countries. They can either sell an edition behind, or sell a different edition altogether. Change a few problems, so if a class requires you to answer the chapter end solutions, someone using the international version would turn in the wrong answers.

The publishers, just like movie and music distributors, are clinging to the old notions and business models. I am glad SCOTUS had the common sense to apply the notion of free market in this case and ease the monopoly on the book distribution.

politically,it looks very bad to rule against the student

orthros said:   Weird split of justices on this one. Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy opposed.
Is this the 1st time Thomas did not vote along with Scalia?

HumDoHamaraDo said:   orthros said:   Weird split of justices on this one. Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy opposed.
Is this the 1st time Thomas did not vote along with Scalia?


No! Not by a long shot!

It's actually more of a surprise that Ginsburg and Breyer authored the 2 opposing opinions. They usually vote together like clock work.

Was this a 'textbook' open-and-shut case

dshibb said:   ZenNUTS said:   rufflesinc said:   This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.I'm sure the lobbyists already got their order now.

Let's see which congress person get bought first, I mean, sponsor the bill and cast your vote accordingly.


The textbook industry has bigger fish to fry right now. They're getting a full frontal assault from online textbook makers who charge a tiny fraction of the cost and are offering substantially higher quality and universities are starting to make the switch.

A Pearson today is under mortal threat! The last thing they need to worry about is some 1 man importer of cheap textbooks when they have numerous companies including one founded by the founder of Sun Microsystems to literally trying to kill them.


Can you show me an online publisher that charges a "fraction of the cost"?

When I was in high school, one of our brand new books started disintegrating before half of the year was over. This wasn't due to abuse, it was happening to the whole class no matter how well they were treated. The teacher investigated and found the problem: The publisher had mistakenly sent us the College Edition instead of the High School Edition of the exact same text. The HS Edition was built with a stronger binding and designed to last. The College Edition was designed to fall apart quickly. The College Edition cost more too.

That was an important lesson to learn about the textbook publishing industry before starting college.

aadam101 said:   dshibb said:   ZenNUTS said:   rufflesinc said:   This was NOT a constitutional question, so congress can still change it by passing a law.I'm sure the lobbyists already got their order now.

Let's see which congress person get bought first, I mean, sponsor the bill and cast your vote accordingly.


The textbook industry has bigger fish to fry right now. They're getting a full frontal assault from online textbook makers who charge a tiny fraction of the cost and are offering substantially higher quality and universities are starting to make the switch.

A Pearson today is under mortal threat! The last thing they need to worry about is some 1 man importer of cheap textbooks when they have numerous companies including one founded by the founder of Sun Microsystems to literally trying to kill them.


Can you show me an online publisher that charges a "fraction of the cost"?


This is k-12, but CK-12 which is started by the founder of Sun Microsystems has editable 'flexbooks' that basically each cover one subject matter within the broader class subject allowing instructors to not only put together their own textbooks, but also customize anything they want for them. These are free and the only cost is cost for printing if they want or need printing.

SGU (a podcast) did an episode on how textbook selection happens and why there are so many factual mistakes in them. CA, FL, and TX basically decide what textbook the rest of the nation (K-12)should get and these committees are not staffed with the brightest people. Textbook for K-12 are put together by bunch of google user, basically, with no background in the subject matter, which explaine some basic science fact mistake.

Here's another good writeup on how textbook get selected:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A56501-2005Mar22.h...

Students deserve better.

LOL you should see Kansas selecting text books...

"Uhh I think Creationism is missing, and this natural selection stuff is totally bogus..."

Did this really need to go to the Supreme Court? Couldn't they have been spending their time on other things like Gun Control and Healthcare?

Maybe its just my school, but the textbook representatives seem to be getting more aggressive than usual. I didn't even know there was such a thing until I started TAing by the way - so in case anyone else didn't know, the publishers send around young commission based reps to try to sweet talk faculty (and grad students who have control over textbook selection because they are teaching a upper level course) into adopting their books. It seems to me like the academic equivalent to the drug sales people that doctors have to deal with.

I'm sure this isn't normal, but a friend of mine who had a large upper level undergrad course was visited by one of these reps and he claims the rep offered sex for a textbook order. I have no reason not to not believe him, and I did check the bookstore history for the course - sure enough, new textbook from different publisher between this and last semester.

To pile on top of book publishers, I'm the decision maker for a textbook that will start in a year or two that will have 4,000 copies a year for our college. In the last year, I've had a lot of cushy book reviews thrown my way, a test bank project which pays $50 an hour with as much work as I want and offers for flights to conferences. It's very much like what that movie about Viagra where the drug reps were pushing the drugs was like..

On other hand it is still illegal to import these textbooks from abroad : it just means if you get away with importing them (US customs didn't catch you and confiscate the books), you are free to sell them in USA.

Since when is it illegal to import a book?

HumDoHamaraDo said:   Was this a 'textbook' open-and-shut case

No. More like they threw the book at him.

magika said:   Maybe its just my school, but the textbook representatives seem to be getting more aggressive than usual. I didn't even know there was such a thing until I started TAing by the way - so in case anyone else didn't know, the publishers send around young commission based reps to try to sweet talk faculty (and grad students who have control over textbook selection because they are teaching a upper level course) into adopting their books. It seems to me like the academic equivalent to the drug sales people that doctors have to deal with. ....R the girls just as hot?

bigdinkel said:   Did this really need to go to the Supreme Court? Couldn't they have been spending their time on other things like Gun Control and Healthcare?

This one is big. If SCOTUS had not sided with consumers, it would have been illegal for you to sell or gift any product you own that is not manufactured in the US (i.e., practically anything), nor keep it in libraries etc.

bigdinkel said:   Did this really need to go to the Supreme Court? Couldn't they have been spending their time on other things like Gun Control and Healthcare?
done and done

School is a business first and foremost. Capitalism applies.

Chinese Supreme Court just ruled that Crown Vics originating in New Jersey cannot be resold in Shanghai

orthros said:   Weird split of justices on this one. Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy opposed.

Weird? Scalia is always on the odd side I thought. I love his opinions though.

Al3xK said:   orthros said:   Weird split of justices on this one. Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy opposed.

Weird? Scalia is always on the odd side I thought. I love his opinions though.


He was only 50 when appointed by Reagan. This is an often under-rated power of the presidency --- these appointments can have an impact for decades.

Skipping 3 Messages...
ananthar said:   Kanosh said:   Since when is it illegal to import a book?

It is illegal to import any item into USA (not just books) without the consent of the US IP (copyright or patent rights) holder. All US negotiated "free" trade agreements have a carve out allowing all countries to impose non-tariff trade-barriers to protect their IP rights. These laws are enforced in USA by US customs.

Without such laws anyone could bypass all US IP laws by manufacturing the product/book in some country where the IP holder forgot to file for a patent (or copyright) and import the product into USA.


No, you can't manufacture and import. Buying legitimate items, importing and reselling is different, so says SCOTUS.



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