CC Maximilian Schönherr via Wikimedia Commons

EU Rules eBook Resale Illegal.

EU courts have ruled that it is now illegal to resell ebooks.

Previously, the resale of ebooks was thought to be protected under the exhaustion of intellectual property rights.

The precedent for this thought was the 2012 ruling by the EU court which legalized the resale of used software licenses.

The 2012 ruling outlined that once you buy a software license it is yours to resell and the original author of the software has no right to oppose subsequent sales – their ownership rights expire after the original sale.

Under the impression the exhaustion of intellectual property rights included ebooks, a website called Tom Kabinet allowed individuals to resell their ebooks when they were done with them – much like you may a physical book.

EU Advocate General Maciej Szpunar ruled yesterday that this is not the case.

Now when you buy an ebook, you have no rights over the book – so you don’t really own it. Ebooks cannot be resold, loaned, gifted, et cetera by anyone other than the original publisher.

The ruling hurts consumers and libraries whilst giving the large publishing corporations more rights and power.

Sofia Carbone is a reporter for and tweets at @SiCarbone_

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