by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 3rd 2008 10:55am
Eric Goldman alerts us to yet another ridiculous lawsuit that is likely to be tossed out of court incredibly quickly. In the meantime, though, it's worth looking at, just for the amusement factor. An author (who isn't worth naming here) has sued both eBay and Amazon because used copies of his books are for sale on both sites. He claims that this is a violation of his copyright, and claims that this "piracy" is no different than what the music, movie and software industry faces when they see their products downloaded. Apparently, he's never heard of the first sale doctrine, recognized by both the courts and directly within the law, allowing the legal owner of a copyrighted work to transfer that work to someone else. He also seems to be unfamiliar with the various safe harbors that would protect both eBay and Amazon from the actions of its users. But, to make it even more fun, before filing the lawsuit, he sent letters to the companies asking for half a billion dollars to shut him up. After claiming that he would clearly win a lawsuit leading other authors to sue as well, he literally says in his letter to them: "should I be compensated fairly, I will be as quiet as a church mouse.... I think [a] number in the high seven figures will be fair enough for me to suddenly catch amnesia." If his novel writing is as unsubtle as his legal threat letters, one would be hard pressed to believe that his books sold very much either at full price, or in these "used" sales.
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