[tt] [FoRK] Book guillotining - spine removal for amateurs

Luis Villa <luis at tieguy.org> on Tue Oct 16 18:15:49 PDT 2007

On 10/16/07, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Luis Villa wrote:
> > (IANAL, etc., etc.)
> >
> > On 10/16/07, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> >
> >> By the rights clarified in Universal
> >> City Studios v. Sony ( summarized nicely at:
> >> http://w2.eff.org/IP/P2P/MGM_v_Grokster/betamax_20th.php ), I feel that
> >> I am entirely within my rights to "time shift" a book to bits.
> >>
> >
> > Sony (the Betamax case) didn't establish that it was legal to use a
> > VCR; it established that it was legal to *sell* a VCR despite the fact
> > that it very well might then be used for illegal purposes. To the
> > extent Sony said anything about the legality of the uses of the VCR,
> > that is dicta.
> >
> I'll defer to your legal knowledge here, however the EFF article that I
> linked to said this:
> > The court decided that American consumers were not violating copyright
> > laws when they time-shifted television with their VCRs. It also
> > declared that Sony was not violating copyright laws by selling VCRs,
> > even though some people might use them to infringe copyrights. In
> > other words, you don't go after the crow bar makers just because there
> > are burglars out there.
> I still think that the legality of time-shifting is considered settled
> law.  I've seen it mentioned in many cases.

EFF has their own agenda and interpretation of Sony to push. I agree
with their agenda, and would love to agree with their interpretation,
but... well, if I had to play it safe myself, I wouldn't copy
anything, I'll put it that way.

> >> Should I keep the spines, like old crusty skeletons, to prove that I
> >> disposed of the physical source?  Photograph myself with the books?
> >> Keep my archive of receipts and make the other party prove that the
> >> receipt is not present?  Simply point out that people give me books?
> >> Should I include a certificate in the scan that it is part of my library
> >> and based on a book I own?
> >>
> Cool.  And you've given me yet another instance that gives me standing
> to pursue taking the Unlicensed Practice of Law statutes to court as
> unconstitutional.  Your advice would be useful to me, no matter how
> unlicensed or uncertified, and my ability to make informed legal
> decisions for myself has again been limited by prior restraint on your
> speech, which is prior restraint on what I have access to.

I agree that they are unconstitutional. Repeal them tomorrow, though,
and you're still not going to get much advice out of lawyers- good
lawyer, like good engineers, instinctively dislike saying things
without deeply understanding the problem first, because they know from
experience that real-world problems are big and hairy and complex.

The advice you do get will mostly be ultra-conservative, too; no IT
guy ever got fired for buying IBM, and no lawyer ever got his client
in trouble by giving very conservative advice.

> Unfortunately, I'm moving, although I will maintain a home here to some
> extent.  Virginia courts seem small-time, or maybe it's just because I'm
> comfortable with them now.  I caught something about the family side of
> California being imposing and aggressive.  I'm sure there's so much
> traffic as to put stress on the system.  Any idea how rough dealing with
> Circuit Court will be in California for such a case?

The copyright case or the unlicensed practice of law case? CA courts
are (not surprisingly) notoriously pro-copyright; no idea on the
practice of law claim.


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