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EFF & eBay user take on Universal

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 06 Aug 2007 18:21 User comments (6)

EFF & eBay user take on Universal The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are representing Troy Augusto, an eBay user taking on Universal Music Group (UMG) in court after being targeted with false claims of copyright infringement, along with the San Francisco law firm of Keker & Van Nest LLP. Augusto held online auctions with the name Roast Beast Music and specializes in sales of rare and collectible music.
Copyright law's "first sale" doctrine makes it clear that the owner of a CD is entitled to resell it without the permission of the copyright holder. Nevertheless, Universal demanded that eBay take down Augusto's auctions, claiming that CDs marked as "promotional use only" remain the property of Universal and thus can never be resold.

"When a consumer buys a CD, he gets certain rights, including the right to resell it. Universal is mistaken if it thinks that it can trump these rights simply by putting a label on a CD," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney. "Universal is trying to unilaterally rewrite copyright law to the detriment of Augusto's legitimate business and the public. Unless this effort is blocked, it could jeopardize not only sales of used CDs, but also libraries, used bookstores, and businesses that rent movies and video games."

The EFF has filed papers with the federal court in Los Angeles answering Universal's claims and counter-suing the company for sending bogus "takedown notices" to eBay that resulted in the unwarranted suspension of Augusto's auctions. The EFF also took on Universal Music Publishing Group last month on behalf of a mom who had a home video removed from YouTube because a very short snippet of a Prince song could be heard in the background.

Press Release

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6 user comments

18.8.2007 5:28

What will the music industry think of next. Maybe they will start suing Mom and Pop record stores for reselling used albums. Oh wait they tried that and LOST!

28.8.2007 7:26

It is because of BS like this, that I will never buy another CD again. Ever.

38.8.2007 7:53

/me likes EFF....

At least the average Joe is now getting help to take on these numbnuts in court.

49.8.2007 22:33

er.. aren't promo CDs free?

"Copyright law's "first sale" doctrine makes it clear that the owner of a CD is entitled to resell it without the permission of the copyright holder."

If the CDs are lent out free for promotional uses then people haven't bought them and they don't own them (Universal could easy claim I would expect)

Not that I agree with it mind as i've bought loads of promo cds on ebay :)

510.8.2007 5:07

I'm sorry. But I don't agree with the above statement by 'OFI'. Owner does not mean Purchaser.

If you are given something (eg. a gift) that item or object now belongs to you since you were given it. It was not loan, nor was it given to you with a requirement to lack ownership simply because it states "promotional use only".

Unlike an engagement ring, which is given with the REQUIREMENT of marriage, promotional items are given to you FREE of cost in the hopes that the giver garnishes profits from the items advertising affects.

In a small way, you can even argue that your use of the item (whatever use that may be) was payment to its giver. And that selling it on to someone else is further payment due to those advertising affects.

Not to sidetrack to much from OFI's comment with long explanation: a courts jargon is very tricky and can be translated numerous ways. But simply reading "...first sale..." and thinking the lack of a sale price means loan would be incorrect. IMHO.

616.8.2007 22:10

Its just suing people lfet right and centre.

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