Development of a Secondary Market for E-books: The Case of Amazon

Author:Liliia Oprysk - Raimundas Matulevicius - Aleksei Kelli
Pages:128-138
SUMMARY

The justification of applying the exhaustion doctrine to intangible copies of copyright protected works is widely discussed in scholarly circles. The discussion mainly concerns the relevant provisions of the international treaties and rationale of the exhaustion doctrine under EU law. However, little attention is paid to the question regarding how the potential outcome is comparable to the one... (see full summary)

 
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2017
Liliia Oprysk, Raimundas Matulevičius, Aleksei Kelli
128
2
Development of a Secondary
Market for E-books
The Case of Amazon
by Liliia Oprysk, Raimundas Matulevičius and Aleksei Kelli*
© 2017 Liliia Oprysk, Raimundas Matulev ičius, Aleksei Kelli
Everybody may disseminate this ar ticle by electronic m eans and make it available for downloa d under the terms and
conditions of the Digital P eer Publishing Licence (DPPL). A copy of the license text may be obtain ed at http://nbn-resolving.
de/urn:nbn:de:0009-dppl-v3-en8.
Recommended citation: Liliia Op rysk, Raimundas Matulevič ius and Aleksei Kelli, Development o f a Secondary Market for
E-books: The Case of Ama zon, 8 (2017) JIPITEC 128 para 1.
Keywords: Copyright; digital exhaustion; e-books; Amazon; digital single market
creating a secondary market. In line with the iden-
tified challenges, this paper presents two scenar-
ios based on the particular circumstances observed
at the Amazon distribution solutions. The first pre-
supposes the creation of a limited secondary market
within Amazon. The second enables a broad second-
ary market of e-books purchased through different
channels, including Amazon. The two scenarios could
potentially be combined to achieve a secondary mar-
ket of e-books in a controlled manner. This would al-
low vendors to keep nearly the same degree of con-
trol over distributed copies while serving consumer
interests and creating the Digital Single Market.
Abstract: The justification of applying the ex-
haustion doctrine to intangible copies of copyright
protected works is widely discussed in scholarly cir-
cles. The discussion mainly concerns the relevant
provisions of the international treaties and ratio-
nale of the exhaustion doctrine under EU law. How-
ever, little attention is paid to the question regard-
ing how the potential outcome is comparable to the
one exhaustion brings in the analogue world. This
article goes beyond the theoretical legal discus-
sion and presents a case study of e-books dissem-
inated through Amazon. The authors analyse the le-
gal, technological and organisational challenges of
A. Introduction
1
The modern copyright law serves multiple objectives.
It aims to protect the author’s interests, facilitate
dissemination of knowledge, and support societal
development. As copyright protection evolved and
exclusive rights extended in their scope, the need to
balance them with the interests of third parties and
society in general arose. The exhaustion doctrine
is one of the examples where the introduction of a
broad exclusive right of a copyright holder is in most
cases accompanied by the principle of exhaustion of
the right upon meeting certain conditions.
2
On the one hand, copyright provides a monopoly,
which restricts competition and the circulation of
goods. The European Single Market is based on the
free movement of goods,1 and thus, it is dependent
* Liliia Oprysk is a Junior Research Fellow and PhD student of
on the restrictions imposed on the exclusive rights.
While the Single Market is a reality for physical goods,
the Digital Single Market is in its infancy. Therefore,
the establishment of this market is a priority task for
the European Commission according to the Digital
Single Market Strategy.
2
It aims, inter alia, to provide
IT Law at the University of Tartu (Estonia), Dr. Raimundas
Matulevičius is an Associate Professor of Software Systems
at the University of Tartu, and Dr. Aleksei Kelli is an
Professor of IP Law at the University of Tartu. This research
has received funding from the Centre for the Information
Society at the University of Tartu.
1 See the Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the
Functioning of the European Union. Available at <http://
eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:2bf140bf-a3f8-
4ab2-b506-fd71826e6da6.0023.02/DOC_2&format=PDF>
(8.5.2017).
2 European Commission. Communication from the
Commission to the European Parliament, the Council,
the European Economic and Social Committee and the
Committee of the Regions. A Digital Single Market Strategy
for Europe. Brussels, 6.5.2015. COM(2015) 192 nal. Available

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