Should It Be Legal to Resell E-Books, Software, and Other Digital Goods?
“If you’re going to start reselling digital goods, who would be the fool who buys the original book?” asks Martijn David, the secretary general of the Dutch Publishers’ Association. “A second-hand car is not new. A second-hand book is a second-hand book. A second-hand digital file [is] like a car which runs forever. It’s completely different from the physical world, where second-hand means less quality.”
Additionally, as David points out, digital files can be replicated: “Authors and publishers fear that their business model, which is already under enormous pressure, will completely vanish, and nobody will make money, except for people like Tom Kabinet,” he said. “They don’t make any investment, they don’t do the marketing or translation, and they simply get a share of that sale.”
“I’m coming from a very different point of view,” says Marc Jellema, the CEO of Tom Kabinet. “If you buy something, it is your right to actually resell it. With something I buy from a consumer rather than a reseller, the term we use is ‘second-hand.’ It has nothing to do with it being older or of less quality.”
Joost Poort, an economist at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Information Law, agrees that the publishers’ argument is flawed.