Copyright Lobbyists Threaten To Sue Book Renting Firm In Finland

from the P2P-is-not-Pirate2Pirate dept

A bunch of folks have sent in this story about a copyright lobbying group in Finland that is threatening to sue a website that helps people rent textbooks, oddly calling it “The Pirate Bay for textbooks.” That makes no sense if you understand what the site actually does. It’s not hosting ebooks. It’s literally connecting people who own textbooks to others, so they can rent their physical textbooks. It’s difficult to see how that could be considered copyright infringement at all, let alone anything similar to The Pirate Bay. But, in this day and age, where the copyright lobbyists see almost anything as infringement, perhaps it’s no surprise they’d freak out about this as well.

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Comments on “Copyright Lobbyists Threaten To Sue Book Renting Firm In Finland”

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thomas (profile) says:

No different from a library

Public libraries do the same thing. You might think that the libraries are “free”, but we actually pay taxes that support them. You still “rent” the books for 28 days or whatever period your library has.

It would make sense if they were renting xeroxed copies, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

They might be successful in a lawsuit if they can bribe the appropriate judges and lawyers. Everyone knows judges don’t make enough money, so bribes are a good way to supplement their income. Lawyers will take money from anybody. Money always triumphs over ethics. Look at the Pirate Bay case – the judge is an member of the copyright company; there’s no way in hell he would rule any differently.

RD says:


You just arent GETTING IT. Dont you realize how the world works now? Arent you all aware that the indoctrination of the *IAA’s of the world has led people to believe that SHARING IS THEFT, of ANY kind. If you share/rent/enjoy something you didnt pay FULL PRICE for, then you are a thief. Soon you wont be able to TALK about something and share your opinion on it without having to pay the “rights holder.” Remember, copyright is ABSOLUTE! You have the RIGHT to control IN EVERY ASPECT the work you hold rights to. This is what these people believe.

Valkor says:

Re: It's about protecting the bottom line...

“If they could keep you from selling them after a class ends, they would.”

They already try to do this. They rearrange the review questions at the end of the chapter and add a few new illustrations and tables and try to call it a new edition. Maybe the next professor won’t mind the old edition, but the campus bookstore won’t buy it back.

bikey says:

Re: It's about protecting the bottom line...

They do. They change the order of the chapters every year, convince professors, who aren’t told/don’t care about the price that major events have necessitated the ‘updating’ of the text, and raise the price, leaving last year’s textbook obsolete or at least hazardous to the student. We just aren’t getting it – education is not about learning, it’s about profit.

Haywood says:

They are going about this wrong

What they should do; Lease the text books for the school year, at about half of the sale price, then charge for damage if you return it in less than pristine shape. At a few cents per year the price could slowly creep to what the purchase price is now. They could also sell insurance to avoid paying the damage fees. They would finally totally control cradle to grave.

No Lo(an) Comrade says:


Thanks to the wonderful education I received from the *IAA, I can tell you my life is so wonderful. Just last week I was watching ***** on TV before going to the movies to see ****** ***** ******. Both were great! The *** chase was awesome! And you wouldn’t believe who had a cameo. It was ******* ******!!!
Got to go, someone knocking on my door.

*Comments edited by *IAA for copyright and usage without paying us infringement. This person has been sent for Special High Intensity Training for Backwards Rebulis Americans, Ignorant of N ew World Order Status

Christer (user link) says:

what to do about all this?

I’ve been reading Techdirt via RSS for some time now, and I recently realized that after reading each article I just end up angry. I think the public should know about this information, but the question that keeps coming to mind for me is: What can we do about this?

Talking about it and getting angry is one thing, but what can we possibly do to stop this nonsense?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: what to do about all this?

Let your ?representative? government hear from you because the lobbyists are in their face all day.

To find your Senator,
To find your Representative,
Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Phone: 202-225-4965

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Phone: 202-224-3542

President Barack Obama
To Email President Obama,
Phone: 202-456-1111

CrushU says:

Re: Re: what to do about all this?

We could always go use our Second Amendment rights and stage a violent overthrow of the government. Or at least the obviously corrupt congressmen/lobbyists/lawyers. (Not really, but you have to admit that we would probably get alot more listening to constituents if they thought we might just go march in on ’em… Ironically this may be why I like my House representative (Heath Shuler). Western NC. I think everyone owns at least three guns… Seriously, though, he has been doing an awesome job from what I can see.)

Don’t forget that part of the reason we have to pay textbook prices is that they make a ‘new’ edition every so often and the colleges are required to change their book requirements to keep up with the ‘new’ books.

Overcast says:

Good ban every form of book ‘borrowing’ available. Renting – all that jazz..

After that, pile them into a pile and burn them. Ray Bradbury would be proud. Don’t forget, paper will ignite at 451 degrees.

See – I don’t think I’ve ever bought a book without reading at least one of the author’s works at the library first, if not that same book. I could list them, but it would take a while.

I read lots online for free, I have read lots at the library for free and it only entices me to BUY more books. Of course, I have about two big bookshelves, maybe three worth of books. The publishers owe about 98% of those purchases to the libraries and online content. The other 2% are maybe random purchases.

Same with Radio – if i never listened to the radio, I’d buy very few, if any CD’s.

It’s downright stupid to be suing the people who are giving you practically free publicity.

But ok.. WTF ever.

Oh but wait now – isn’t this akin to “green terrorism”? After all; if people can’t rent the books, they must buy them – in effect killing more trees, right?

All this stuff doesn’t even warrant calling it ‘stupid’ because it’s far less intelligent than something a ‘stupid’ person would do.

Perhaps, 1984 wasn’t so far fetched – if these people get their way, I bet all content will be ‘purchased’ online, books will be banned for fear of someone loaning a book to a friend, so that friend could read the content for free.

skyrider (profile) says:


“I bet all content will be ‘purchased’ online, books will be banned for fear of someone loaning a book to a friend, so that friend could read the content for free.”

Don’t forget the facial-recognition software tapped into your webcam so that a ‘friend’ can’t read it over your shoulder.

Anyways, if this holds true, there are thousands more pirates on college campuses than previously thought. They are set up outside every college bookstore, looking to ‘buy’ students’ used textbooks.

Trollificus says:


@Joe: show me a revolution where the fucking lefties don’t weasel their way to the head of every committee, rules meeting and task force and I’m down with it!

@overcast. Nice. But the power of dysintelligence* at work here threatens a world more like “Idiocracy” than “1984”.

*-greed combined with intelligence can generate powerful creative force. Things get made, built, DONE. Greed combined with dysintelligence** is invariably destructive. It might be entertaining, if only there were a secure and isolated enough place from which to view it.

**-new word. Not just the absence of intelligence (for which there is already the word UNintelligent), but a perverse use of the faculties that otherwise produce thought in a way that is ANTI-intelligent. ex: the *IAAs. Nice, eh? It doesn’t make my ass look fat does it?

lordmorgul says:

Great publicity for the site.

I never would have known about this site without someone stirring up a tantrum about it. This is neat. I wish them success and continued widespread use.

The fact is textbooks are way overpriced.. and the authors get paid a bare PITTANCE for (often) their life’s work and years of effort in putting together a well written text.

The publishing industry is robbing the text authors and robbing students (profiteering by frequent/minor version changes only to prop-up sales, and regulations regarding ‘accompanying software’ which has an arbitrarily chosen shelf life, etc). Textbooks are way too expensive, just like tuition at most schools… including public colleges now.

CleverName says:


“The Finnish book publishers’ association (Suomen Kustannusyhdistys) is convinced that Bookabooka is breaking the copyright legislation and threatening their business.”

So, how is it a copyright violation when a copy has not been made ?

Perhaps Suomen Kustannusyhdistys is thinking they have a sharerights violation …

I remember reading a short story some time ago about two school kids who got in trouble for sharing a textbook in order to do a homework assignment. Can’t remember the author or title, but it fits with this story very well.

Hans B PUFAL (profile) says:

Is this next ?

And in further breaking news, a coalition of music publishers, movie and TV producers, and book publishers have begun a campaign to ban the reading of books, the listening to music, and the viewing of movies and television programs. They cite that by consuming their products the public is essentially copying the works into their brains from where they can be reproduced illegally at a later date.

Initially targeting consumers with photographic memories, the campaign is already in talks with congressional staff to draft legislation which will “finally put the control of all creative works firmly where it belongs, with the publishers”

The coalition, in conjunction with brain scientists, is also exploring the means of erasing from the brains of the original creators the memories of their creations on the grounds that allowing such memories would definitively prevent any attempt to use parts of an existing work in the creation of another. A campaign spokesperson explains that “Creation of original work is a pure and noble act and we cannot allow it to be polluted by the memories of what the creator has done or experienced previously”

mr_Zombie says:

“It’s difficult to see how that could be considered copyright infringement at all, let alone anything similar to The Pirate Bay. But, in this day and age, where the copyright lobbyists see almost anything as infringement, perhaps it’s no surprise they’d freak out about this as well.”

They actually have a pretty good argument with this.

Finland’s copyright law prevents private people to rent their books publicly (if I understood it right, you can rent books to friends but not to make a big sign saying “I rent books!” and put it outside of your home). So yes, it is a copyright infringement if you post a notification to a web site saying “I have this book and I want to rent it” and then rent it to somebody who contacs you via that web site.

The similarity to The Pirate Bay is that both TPB and Bookabooka are helping people to make copyright infringements.

So the problem here isn’t this time that the copyright owners are exceeding their rights. If this gets to a court, they’ll propably have good chances to win.

The problem is stupid copyright law that prevents book renting.

Nelson Cruz (profile) says:

EULAs coming to books?

Unless copyright law is very unusual in Finland, I don’t see how they can expect to win this case. A book is the property of the person who buys it. They can be resold, borrowed or rented.

But according to the logic of “1 download = 1 lost sale = stealing”, that the copyright maximalists like so much, then this lawsuit makes perfect sense. This site, and its users, are stealing!

Don’t be surprised if books start coming out with EULAs, or RLAs (readers license agreements), saying:

“You cant resell, rent or borrow this book to anyone. Don’t even dare let anyone peek over your shoulder while you are reading on the bus! You wouldn’t steal a book from a store. Borrowing a book to or from a friend is stealing too!”

And then of course the public libraries will be next on the hit list. 🙂

JP_Fife says:

There’s a lot of knee jerk reaction going on here. I don’t know about America or Finland but here in Scotland books have text along the lines of ‘this book shall not be lent, re sold or hired out in any way without the permission of the publisher’ or words to that effect on the copyright page. So, yeah, these people are breaking copyright law. But my guess it’s more the publishers pissed off that the people didn’t come to them first with a bag of cash.

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