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Second-hand e-book market must ban illegal content


In July 2014 Nils Winthagen wrote an article for about copyright and the second-hand e-book market. He wrote the article based on the fact the Dutch Publishers Association (NUV) had started proceedings against Tom Kabinet. In the summary proceedings the court ruled in favour of Tom Kabinet. This judgement is successfully apealed by the NUV. Tom Kabinet cannot provide services for reselling illegal e-books.

In the summary proceedings Tom Kabinet claimed that the e-books which are sold through its website must meet some conditions. The e-books must be legally obtained and the seller must remove his copy when selling it. The court followed this argument and Tom Kabinet was allowed to continue its second-hand e-book website.


The court of appeal now ruled that selling second-hand e-books is permitted based on the well-known UsedSoft ruling by the European Court of Justice which was about selling second-hand software. Nevertheless, the court agrees with the NUV that the control and measures taken by Tom Kabinet to ban illegal e-books are insufficient and ineffective. Tom Kabinet therefore facilitates the resale of illegal content. 


Furthermore the court ruled that if Tom Kabinet succeeds to take sufficient and effective measures to ban such illegal content from its website, it may request to lift the ban in new summary proceedings.


The NUV published a press release in which it says to be pleased with this judgement that puts a stop to the illegal sale of e-books. Tom Kabinet indicates it will proceed with a smaller collection of e-books. All e-books that do not contain a watermark will be removed from its website.


Read the complete judgment here (in Dutch).