Friday, February 20, 2015

WTF: Selling of ARCs

This day has been really tiring, both physically, mentally and emotionally and I don't know how to describe my rage when I saw a post about a seller, selling ARCs over at Instagram.

As a blogger, who gets electronic advance readers copies or eARCs, we are notified by the publishing company, that these electronic copies are not for sale and can not be distributed unless they are notified of what purpose it might be used for. It's the same with physical ARCs and it is pretty apparent with their "NOT FOR SALE" sign on the covers of the physicals.

But then this seller is selling ARCs that apparently he or she received from publishing companies, most especially, HarperCollins International and Simon and Schuster. 

I was especially appalled about this because for one, it breaks the agreements made with these publishers who have put forth their point that it is not for sale. But then this seller put up this law, in which he or she thinks would save him or her of any lawful action.

The publisher printed and distributed this book to the public (both to the media and to the general public in giveaways), and the sale of this book is protected under the “First Sale” doctrine of the Copyright Act, Section 109, “which permits one who has acquired ownership of a copy to dispose of that copy without the permission of the copyright owner,” no matter if the copy was for sale or received for free. Also, in a decision by the 9th Circuit Court (UMG v. Augusto) it was determined that the “First Sale” doctrine also applies to promotional copies despite restrictive labeling because the distribution of the promotional copy does not constitute a licensing agreement. So under U.S. Copyright law the sale of the proof is legal regardless of the printed sale prohibitions on the cover. Follow

A law as such is not without its holes, and from what I have observed, it points out that the doctrine may apply to promotional copies, ARCs for example, despite labeling, however, if you have made an agreement with the company to receive copies, review it, and not sell it, then it is out of the law's jurisdiction. The settlement would have to be between the company and the one who receives these copies.

But the reason I am really, really mad, is that this seller insists that the companies wouldn't be able to do anything against his or her actions because he or she is friends with the companies. Like, sorry, I'm gonna say this, but WHAT THE FREAKIN' FUCK!?

Bloggers work hard to earn the trust of these publishers to help promote authors and the company itself and they don't even profit from sending out these advance copies, and the seller just uses them for his or her own benefit. Unforgivable. Having involved some of my blogger friends, they felt the same way and even huddled to make a point towards the seller, but the seller seems unaffected by the whole thing, even deleting comments made by people who are trying to bore the fault to his or her head.

For now, we who are trying to apprehend this person, are hoping for the best. Also, I hope this will serve as a warning to not only that seller but to those who are selling or even thinking of selling the ARCs that they receive. Please, respect the publishers and their terms. And if you don't want to keep your ARCs, then don't sell them. Give them away through your blog or donate them to your school or public library. I'm sure they'd appreciate the gorgeous gesture.

So, as readers, what do you think of this issue? And to the bloggers, how will you do your part against this? Let's do something about this issue.

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