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).