Jim Huggins (jkhuggins) wrote,
Jim Huggins

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Calling for Time: Why the Supremes Will Consider Costco v. Omega (law.com, via Slashdot)

This is a fascinating case for me ... in part because of the implications for the academic textbook market.

College textbooks are expensive ... so much so that, if publishers charged the same amount for textbooks in many other countries that they charge in the U.S., they'd never be able to sell a copy.  So, for the most popular textbooks, publishers will make cheaper versions (usually, softcover, inferior paper, etc.) and sell them in other countries for substantially less.  Of course, in the age of the Internet, there's really no such thing as a "local market".  Enterprising students abroad buy up those textbooks and then sell them online (say, on eBay) for prices which allow them to make a profit but still sell the item at significantly less than the American versions.  The texts are all stamped "Not for sale in the US", but it's not really clear to me whether such resales might be legal, or even ethical.

The case above doesn't deal with textbooks, but wristwatches.  But the principles involved are the same.  It'll be fascinating to see what comes of it.

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