The Sweet Taste Of Defeat: Band Must Pay Legal Fees For Frivolous Lawsuit Over One Used CD On eBay

from the tilting-at-windmills dept

British glam-rock band The Sweet (best known for songs like Block Buster! and The Ballroom Blitz) seemed pretty damn bitter five years ago when guitarist Andy Scott sued an Austrian man, Dietmar Huber, for selling a single used CD on eBay at a price of one euro. At first, he claimed it was a pirated copy and asked for a €2000 fee, but Huber refused, insisting it was a legally purchased disc that he had every right to sell. Amazingly, Scott kept pushing, and went to court asking for €36,000. When Huber proved in court that it was his CD, Scott still didn't give up! He changed his claim to say he owned a copyright on the name, and all used sales had to be authorized by him.

Huber, as the victim of an utterly ridiculous string of legal attacks, continued to fight back, and now Austria's highest court has confirmed that he did nothing wrong and the band must pay his legal fees to the tune of £50,000.

This isn't really surprising—most jurisdictions recognize that it's always okay to re-sell something you legally purchased. Of course, we do see some companies pushing back against this, most notoriously video game developers. But even they'd (probably) be smarter than to engage in such a Quixotic legal quest. And that's the surprising part here: that the guitarist kicked off this circus and forced it to keep escalating. Used records have been a much-loved part of the music world for decades—did he think he was going to change all that? More importantly, does he think this is going to help him sell more albums? In reality, I'd guess people are going to be a lot more reluctant to buy a Sweet CD in the future, since they know they might get sued if they want to re-sell it later (because, given his dogged pursuit of this dead-end lawsuit, I am not optimistic that Scott has learned his lesson).



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  1.  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Most

    most jurisdictions recognize that it's always okay to re-sell something you legally purchased.

    Except the US.
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101213/09353512255/supreme-court-ruling-you-may-not-be-able- to-legally-sell-product-first-made-outside-us.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:12am

    It is so good to see the Paul Christoforo school of self promotion keeps on churning out new graduates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    So in other words Huber had a sweet victory over Sweet ;)

    Swwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeettttt!

     

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  4.  
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    timlash (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:20am

    Yeahhh!!!

    It's, it's a courtroom blitz.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:24am

    Re: Yeahhh!!!

    your lucky it was Austria and not Australia otherwise you'd owe 30% of the profits for that post to them...

     

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  6.  
    icon
    justok (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re: Yeahhh!!!

    the fox on the run

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Speaking after the court ruling, Wolfgang Maier, the German lawyer for Scott, said: 'The end result according to the final court of appeal is that copyright and intellectual property protection in Austria is far short of what it should be.'

    Glad to see there are still people who think used markets are a problem and should be excised.
    You wouldn't prohibit someone from reselling a car.
    ... Actually, scratch that, I'm sure they'd love to if they could.

     

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  8.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Leigh you missed an AMAZING quote from the article...

    "Speaking after the court ruling, Wolfgang Maier, the German lawyer for Scott, said: 'The end result according to the final court of appeal is that copyright and intellectual property protection in Austria is far short of what it should be.'"

    I'm thinking its time we wall Germany back off again.
    They brought us speculative invoicing aka copyright trolling, GEMA, and now the idea that Copyright and IP means artists should be paid forever every time their work changes hands.

     

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  9.  
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    Trails (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re: Yeahhh!!!

    Oh, yeah, it was like lightning
    Scott's legal theories were frightening
    But the ruling was soothing
    And now Dieter is grooving
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    And the man at the back said
    Everyone attack and it turned into a courtroom blitz
    And the girl in the corner said
    Boy, I wanna warn ya, it'll turn into a courtroom blitz

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    " In reality, I'd guess people are going to be a lot more reluctant to buy a Sweet CD in the future, since they know they might get sued if they want to re-sell it later (because, given his dogged pursuit of this dead-end lawsuit, I am not optimistic that Scott has learned his lesson)."

    Not really, because what this case now gives us is legal precedent. Scott would be pretty damn foolish to try something similar again when this precedent is there for all to refer to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Most

    Not that anyone's going to give a flying **** about that ruling.

     

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  12.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    Not really.
    Even with all of the media coverage people are still paying off copyright trolls.
    You just have to have a scary letter, and keep the demand lower than what it would cost to hire a lawyer and you get a payday from a percentage.

     

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  13.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    Not that I ever liked them all that much anyway. But should I be feeling nostalgic one day I know what band I won't get a missing CD, DVD or LP of.

    And don't worry, Scott or someone else like him will try this trick again. :(

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    Scott *is* pretty damn foolish, as this case clearly shows.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Donnicton, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Well, looks like there really is someone who can make little Willy go home.

     

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  16.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    This is why we need SOPA, ACTA, etc.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    AC Cobra, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    Reverse psychology?

    Maybe he was hoping for some kind of Streisand effect to boost their sales.

     

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  18.  
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    Tech42 (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    No way to promote sales

    If this case had gone in Scott's favour, wouldn't that mean that retailers could be sued for selling the CD in the first place? After all, they bought it (albeit at wholesale price) and then attempted to resell it.

    If this were to be accepted into law, wouldn't that mean that any physical item found to be associated with a copyright could not be sold? Wouldn't the same restriction apply to any physical item associated with a patent?

     

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  19.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Uh?

    Considering the number of secondhand record shops, bring and buy/jumble/car boot sales and classified ads selling records out there it is surprising that Scott didn't reailise earlier that his records were being sold secondahand all over the place for many years - OH wait - this was "on the internet"...

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    God Bless Dietmar Huber!!

    Message to ancient talentless creep Andy Scott:

    You suck and your band sucked, you always sucked and you always will. That noise you called "music" and your image were utterly atrocious and an insult to mankind. You couldn't play a guitar to save your spent life. Your ancient noise still makes me want to vomit all these decades later.

    Now just foad you stone-aged make-up encrusted talentless relic!

    If you want to sue anybody, sue your fucking former record company for not compressing that horse-shit you called music enough - one can make out some of that awful ugly noise - despite the lowest known dynamic range on the planet.

    I will NEVER buy anything with your bloody name on it but I will download as much as possible for free and distribute with total abandon because of your ignorant actions, you make-up encrusted old tone-deaf creep!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:10am

    A puzzle...

    I looked at the picture of the cd in the article... got curious.... did some looking around.

    http://www.algonet.se/~sweetfa/cd_box_legend.htm

    According to this webpage the first CD of the set had no The Sweet material on it.
    The second cd had 2 non The Sweet tracks.

    So I am wondering if maybe the anger was just misplaced. That ACD/Eurotrend released something they weren't authorized to or was crap, and so Scott was cranky. But the CD was released in 1997ish so it seems a little late and totally wrong to go after a guy selling a cd he purchased.

    Then I read The Sweet wikipedia page and found out that 2 members of the band were touring as The Sweet at the same time and it gets sorta confusing.

    While it is possible the CD was felt to be counterfeit, this wasn't the proper forum or target. Suing someone who was a fan of yours for buying material he thought was legit isn't a smart thing to do.

     

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  22.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:12am

    Re: God Bless Dietmar Huber!!

    caring is sharing... if you care... don't share this.
    Save the world from it.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:13am

    better not try to sell any used copies of Wanye's World either...

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Difster, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Tia Carerra's version of Ballroom Blitza was far better anyway.

    I'd say he was a washed up rock star but he was never really a star to begin with now was he. A couple of songs that got out there and it was over.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Difster, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Tia Carerra's version of Ballroom Blitza was far better anyway.

    I'd say he was a washed up rock star but he was never really a star to begin with now was he. A couple of songs that got out there and it was over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Difster, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Tia Carerra's version of Ballroom Blitza was far better anyway.

    I'd say he was a washed up rock star but he was never really a star to begin with now was he. A couple of songs that got out there and it was over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    anymouse_cowherd (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    I just can't believe Mike's hubris...

    For years he's regaled us with the mantra of "Show us the real losses of the copyright system not some made up numbers."

    Now he's handed a incontrovertible FACT that copyright has cost an actual artist real money and all we hear is mocking.

    This guy thinks he can just sell a CD. That CD might as well be Scott's child. You wouldn't sell the kid that mows your lawn, would you? Selling used CDs is just like selling someone's child...to a cyber-terrorist.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Poppa Joe, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    "British glam-rock band The Sweet seemed pretty damn bitter"...

    Not exactly, since Brian Connolly died in 1997 and leukemia got Mick Tucker in 2002.

    This is all on Andy.

    1972-1978 Sweet: best rock band ever.

     

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  29.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    I'd sell my own mother for a used CD. And possibly the next three generations of my family.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    anymouse_cowherd (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    That might be the answer...

    I know your mom on a DVD almost covered that pack of gum from the bargain bin...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Reverse psychology?

    If he was clever he would have claimed that the lawsuit was for protecting customers against the record industry. By setting a logical precedent in court as it happened in this case, it might be more difficult to get through court with lawsuits relying on such illogical claims.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Less likely?

    "In reality, I'd guess people are going to be a lot more reluctant to buy a Sweet CD in the future"

    How could we be less likely to buy it? We'd never heard of the band until today...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    Re: Yeahhh!!!

    The Damned do a great version of Ballroom Blitz

     

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  34.  
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    Trails (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    while opposing gay marriage.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    GMacGuffin (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Re: God Bless Dietmar Huber!!

    ... sue your fucking former record company for not compressing that horse-shit you called music enough - one can make out some of that awful ugly noise - despite the lowest known dynamic range on the planet.

    Actually, compression/limiting removes dynamic range by removing spikes, so lack of compression would not contribute to Sweet's lack of dynamics.

    It's more that they sucked anyway; on that I agree.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    Re: Less likely?

    "How could we be less likely to buy it? We'd never heard of the band until today..."

    That makes two of us...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re:

    Don't paint us all with the same brush because of some jackass lawyers and clueless judges.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    preciousillusion (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    1973

    Back in 1973 I sold some copies of a drawing I made, and today some little fucker tried to sell one of them on e-bay. I haven't sold many drawings since then so give me my fucking money you thieves.

    /Gollum

    Ps.
    I also want my ring back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    I wonder how many people will remember this reference? I certainly do ^^

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Less likely?

    Actually it is possible for us three (I'd never heard of them either) to now be less likely to buy the CD than before today. Imagine if two days ago you walked into a store and saw their CD on the shelf and bought it because of "insert reason here" (e.g. nice artwork, friend's recommendation etc.)
    Now, we've heard of this band and their jackassery. Now we know to avoid them completely.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    drew (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    And don't forget the case was binned. I'm sure it wouldn't take long to find an asshole of a lawyer in any country ;)

     

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  42.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

    Awesome to see the court find fairly.

    And I know of one band to avoid now, for sure. Even though I never sell my old CD's anyway.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Yeahhh!!!

    The Damned I've at least heard of as opposed to The Sweet.

    "Ignite" being my favorite song by The Damned.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    TEA-Time, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    I love it when greed backfires!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:04pm

    Huh?

    What the fuck is a "CD"?

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 2:04pm

    WTF

    Ballroom Ditz
    Ballroom Ditz
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah...

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

    They haven't had a hit since, what, the 1970s?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So if he tries to tour playing oldies music, he can name the band "Newtra-sweet??



    I like some of his songs, but I never knew the name of the band and I'm 51, and heard this music growing up


    (WLS, Chicago am radio)

     

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  49.  
    icon
    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    Looks like Andy needs to join his band-mates. Like yesterday. Certainly no later than tomorrow. Then they can all suck in Rock Hell.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 12th, 2012 @ 7:40pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm keeping it alive as best I can...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Eduardo, Mar 17th, 2014 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    Since the purchase of the CD is really only a license to listen to the content without a forfeiture or complete surrender of copyright, technically Andy was correct in that a resell is actually a transfer of a copyright license without permission of the copyright holder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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