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本文摘要:America’s Supreme Court delights online retailers and appals media firms联邦最高法院裁决——有人有缘有人恨CALL it academic arbitrage. Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai student who earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Southern California, made as much a


America’s Supreme Court delights online retailers and appals media firms联邦最高法院裁决——有人有缘有人恨CALL it academic arbitrage. Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai student who earned a PhD in mathematics from the University of Southern California, made as much as $1.2m with some basic maths. He asked friends and family to ship him cheap textbooks from Thailand, which he sold for a handsome profit in America. The books were intended only for sale in Thailand, and Wiley, a publisher of some of the textbooks he sold, sued him for copyright infringement in September 2008 and won. Mr Kirtsaeng appealed, and the case made its way to America’s highest court.Supap Kirtsaeng 是一名泰国学生,在美国南加州大学获得了数学博士学位,然而他只能靠非常简单的算术之后赚得了120万美金。Supap Kirtsaeng让朋友和家人从泰国相赠来廉价的课本,再行在美国高价售出,扣除利润可观,可以称作是“学术套利”。Supap Kirtsaeng售出的课本原本只仅限于泰国境内出售,因此,他所售课本的出版商之一,约翰威立父子出版发行公司,在2008年9月以侵害版权名为对Supap Kirtsaeng驳回诉讼,并输掉了官司。之后,Supap Kirtsaeng明确提出裁决,该案之后一路打到了美国联邦最高法院。

On March 19th the Supreme Court ruled that American copyright law does not restrict goods produced abroad from being resold in America. The ruling,widens the reach of the “first sale doctrine”, which gives copyright-holders control of their goods until their first sale; afterwards the purchaser can lend or peddle them for whatever price he chooses. Previously, the first-sale doctrine protected copyright-holders from their works being imported and resold without their permission. A retailer could legally sell a second-hand “Gone with the Wind” DVD, but could not buy it cheaply in Russia, bring it to America and sell it for a low price. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, that protection has been swept away.今年的3月19日,联邦最高法院作出裁决,宣告美国版权法不容许国外购置的产品在美国再度出售,不断扩大了“首次销售原则”的适用范围(“首次销售原则”规定,版权所有者在首次销售前对产品拥有控制权;首次销售后,购买者则可以以给定价格外借或售卖所购产品。)之前“首次销售原则”的规定是,不经版权所有者许可,不得从他国进口并再度销售其产品,这在一定程度上对版权所有者展开了维护。对于零售商来说,贩卖二手的《乱世佳人》DVD是合法的,但他们却无法从俄罗斯低价买进这一DVD,进口至美国,再行以高于美国市价的价格售出。

然而,在联邦最高法院的这次裁决之后,版权所有者将丧失这一层法律维护。Publishers, record labels, film studios and other content-owners are shocked. They have often sold the same product in poorer countries for less, knowing that it would not hurt their pricing power at home. Now it will. Big online retailers such as Amazon and eBay could start exploiting these pricing differences on a large scale. Ian Whittaker of Liberum Capital, a broker, thinks this ruling will really hurt academic publishers, such as Pearson (a part-owner of The Economist). They tend to sell identical books for eye-watering prices in America and much less in countries where people cannot afford those prices.还包括出版商、唱片公司、电影制片厂在内的一众版权所有者深感愤慨。之前,这些公司一贯在更为贫困的国家减少产品价格,知悉这样做到并会伤害其在本国的定价权。


伦敦投行Liberum Capital的股票经纪人Ian Whittaker指出,联邦最高法院的这一裁决将伤害培生教育出版发行集团(The Economist股东之一)等学术出版商的利益。这是因为,学术出版商所售课本在美国一般来说标价极高,但在那些无力忍受高价的国家,课本定价则不会深感减少。Publishers have already warned that they may have to turn the page on the old system of letting students in poor countries buy textbooks cheaply. “Some people are predicting a world where price discrimination will no longer be possible,” says Arti Rae, a professor of law at Duke University. Media companies could choose to stagger the release of films or books across countries, delaying the launch of titles in countries where they cannot fetch high prices. However, that may simply encourage piracy. Congress could intervene and rejig 调整 变更 the Copyright Act of 1976, which established the first-sale doctrine. But that would require Washington to get its act together 齐心协力—a plotline so implausible that it would make J.K. Rowling blush.回应,出版商们早已作出了警告,回应他们也许要迫使压力完结让贫困国家学生低价出售课本的历史了。

杜克大学的法学教授Arti Rae回应:“有人指出,今后价格种族歧视将不复存在。”媒体公司可以掌控电影或图书在有所不同国家的公布时间,在那些无法售出高价的国家延期产品投放市场的时间。然而,这样做到有可能只不会让正版不道德更为横行。

国会可以插手此事,对1976年版权法案(该法案奠定了“首次销售原则”)展开调整,解决问题媒体公司所面对的困境,但是要达成协议此事难道必须联邦政府各方面齐心协力,这种事情估算手写体奇幻小说的J??K??罗琳都实在不有可能再次发生吧。In any case, an even bigger copyright issue is brewing. The Copyright Act was written before digital media became popular, and the first-sale doctrine does not apply to electronic wares. Should consumers have the right to lend and sell their music files and e-books, even though they do not wear out like their physical counterparts, or should content-producers retain the copyright? If consumers could legally resell their electronic media, it could wipe out the profits of many media firms. ReDigi, a firm that enables people to buy and sell second-hand electronic music files, was sued last year for copyright infringement by Capitol Records, a music label. A judge should rule on the case soon, but it may well be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.总之,一场更大的版权问题将要来临。1976年编写版权法案时,数字媒体大风行的时代还没来临,而“首次销售原则”也呼吸困难用作电子产品。

在电子媒体产品会像实体媒体产品一样损耗老化的情况下,消费者否有权出租、出售他们的音乐文件夹和电子书?而内容出版者又否应该保留他们的版权呢?如果消费者有权出售他们的电子媒体产品的话,很多媒体公司的盈利空间将不复存在。唱片商Capitol Records去年以侵害版权名为控告了ReDigi公司,而ReDigi公司正是容许人们出售、出售二手电子音乐的。

负责管理该案的法官不日之后不会作出裁决,但这一案件可能会像Supap Kirtsaeng案一样,一路打到联邦最高法院去。



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