Home » Ebook Resale, Non-US » Dutch e-book resale site has to close for now, court rules

Dutch e-book resale site has to close for now, court rules

21 January 2015

From PCWorld:

Dutch ebook resale site Tom Kabinet has to close because, at least at the moment, it cannot prove that all the books offered for sale on the site have been legally obtained, an Amsterdam court ruled Tuesday.

Tom Kabinet, which allows sellers to upload ebook files to the site, has been online since June last year. It asks sellers to verify that the ebooks being uploaded were legally obtained, via a declaration in which they also state that they will erase their copy after the upload. That, however, is not enough, according to a court.

The verdict of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal is a mixed bag for Tom Kabinet, because it also ruled that it is legal to offer a platform on which legally obtained ebooks can be resold. However, as Tom Kabinet also potentially provides a “relatively simple and lucrative opportunity” to resell illegally obtained ebooks and has no way to guarantee this will not happen, the site will have to close for now, the court said in a news release.

. . . .

Judith Mariën, one of Tom Kabinet’s founders, said that despite the mixed verdict, it is “good news” that the court ruled that the site’s business model is essentially legal.

In the coming days Tom Kabinet will try to find a way to keep the site online by toughening up the process to filter out illegally obtained ebooks, which can possibly be done by checking the digital watermarks of all incoming ebooks as well as of those in the database, Mariën said.

Link to the rest at PCWorld

Ebook Resale, Non-US

17 Comments to “Dutch e-book resale site has to close for now, court rules”

  1. “watermarks”? Do they mean DRM? It isn’t required, only available.

    So I guess indies will lose out on this one – but then, their readers didn’t pay $14.99 for an ebook.

    • Watermarking is less obtrusive than DRM. It doesn’t lock the file to one device or account, but rather has a fingerprint (visible or invisible) that the seller can retrace back to the purchaser. It is used as a deterrent to buyers from distributing the work. Some watermarking can be obnoxious, like putting the buyer’s name and credit card in the header or footer, visible for all to see. Watermarks can be stripped like DRM.

  2. This is bad news, if it is legal to resale eBooks. The authors will get next to nothing for their work.

    • Um…I think the author will get absolutely nothing. But that’s been the way with used print books. Maybe authors will have to go to a licensing model…if that’s possible, i.e., you, the original paying consumer, are buying a license to download and read this eBook, but you may not resell it.

      A long time ago we used to sell HTML eBooks with a user-specific license key. It worked quite well. And, yes, this was during the Net era considered to be ancient history when the standard resolution was 640×400.

      • I don’t know about everywhere, but the ebooks you “buy” on Amazon are just licensed to you.

        • Yes. You’re not buying a book, just the license. Since this is what all the major players do, I wonder where these allegedly legal ebooks are being bought from? Because if they bought it from Amazon, they do not have the right to resell it, because they don’t *own* it.

        • Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize that.

  3. just a note. I wonder where people get scans from etc for digital uploading to various sites like scribd and pirate bay and other pirate sites. I found one clue. WHen Google scanned my books in print in their wholesale scanning project [a subject for another time] I noticed on one of my books several pages were scanned in crooked. On pirate sites, same two pages are scanned in crooked. Google swore up and down that “their’ scans were proprietary, locked up tight so they could exploit their ‘own hard work’ and no one else, including the original author, could ever have at theml.

    I wonder if the truth lies elsewhere?

    I also wonder if any book on AMZ is not also scanned by Google. I wonder what would keep them from doing so, actually, as they did before, from any library ‘licensing’ your ebook?

    • sorry for the near duplicate comment. I cleared my cache on my browser and that apparently makes me sign back in everywhere fresh… and I thought I did at TPV, but apparently my first comment went out without my handle. sorry.

  4. I wonder where digital books come from as resale

    Google scans of my books, on one, crooked scans of two pages

    on scribd, pirate bay and other pirate sites, same book, with crooked scans of two pages

    google defending itself about its wholesale grab by scanning living authors’ works, claimed up and down, no way anyone except Google can squat on these scans, proprietary, locked up, blah and more blah. N ot even the authors of the work can have the digital google scan.

    I wonder about what is not said, not proclaimed, in the midst of all the jillions of statements from goog and amz and others … what they leave out that they know, that we do not

    I also wonder why amz thinks their ‘licensed’ ebooks cannot be scanned and copied and resold… they come for kindle for mac in practically pdf forms. Can be cut and pasted, minus paragraphing, into an ms word doc in no time.

    I guess I just wonder who’s really ‘watching’ the store.

  5. You both inspired me to do an internet search.
    Within 5 seconds I found this:

    “Google Book Downloader is a utility that rips books from Google and saves them as PDFs so you can view them with any device or desktop that can view this file format. Using Microsoft’s .NET framework, the Google Book Downloader application allows users to enter a book’s ISBN number or Google link to pull up the desired book and begin a download…”


    • Nice one. Someone will be promoting that link on Bookbub next?

    • goodness Teri, that is really something. So much for Google saying oh no, our scans are completely secure. Their pants must be on fire big time…

      • “Their pants must be on fire big time…”
        Quite the contrary, I think they don’t give a sh*t and that their b*lls are presently so cold that they could a well be bathing in cryogenic gel. As long as nobody can prove that G**gle has anything to do with that… and without wanting to sound like I love any conspiracy tale (I don’t), wouldn’t that be a good thing for Google and its business if all books content was forever completely free for everybody to search for… on G**gle? Imagine all the advertising that could be sold next to the search results…

        • marquejaune… prob not a conspiracy, prob much truth in what you apprehend. I sometimes think about what Eric Schmidt [sp] I think proposed be Google’s absolute model: Do no evil.

          That would have been a great motto if followed.

          Hubris, lavish opportunity and invites to ‘the top’ of corps and government– and bad mood competititiveness –can seduce decent people into doing indecent things– and to justify same claiming it is ‘for x group of the citizenry, yes, yes, to uphold and lift them up, yes let us hear it for the citizenry!!’—but while demeaning the y and z groups for they are only the workers.

          It’s an old story that has some very famous names attached to them, even tho late in life, late late, those famous names, finally gave money away to uplift ever some of the workers, at least in ways the moguls thought would ‘improve’ the masses, without asking them what they needed for a better life.

          I would suggest, studying the moguls of the past, gives insight into what is happening and what will come down from ‘the new moguls’ now.

          Im not sure that workers can ever be on the side of management and distibution, even if some derive temporary handsome pay. That too, is ‘studyable’ throughout history. And it would appear to be very rare that management/distrib/corps of that nature, of taking from and squeezing suppliers, dont look for what is called ‘the judas sheep’ to proclaim how wonderful the corps/moguls/distribs etc are, in order to lead other sheep into lower and lower return through various means.

          I dont know where it will all go. I hope we will all make good and do good, despite some of us feeling like we are, at present with each new day of more and more squeeze] somewhat like the ball bearings on a pinball machine being catapulted and shot thither and yon with blockers and also those who try to illegally tilt the machine. Difference in pinball in gas stations back in the day, you’d only lose a nickel. Now… to play the ebook game only, seems one could lose more to any number of better, faster, more powerful corp players.

          But onward. Still. Onward.

  6. Amazon’s fault.

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