Textbook publisher Wiley & Sons loses Supreme Court copyright case

JISHOU, HUNAN — Selling textbooks printed abroad in the USA does not infringe the copyright of the books’ publisher, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a 6-3 decision. The decision means a Thai entrepreneur can legally resell textbooks in the States. The adversaries in this case were John Wiley & Sons, which publishes the text I used for AP Physics for many years, among others, and Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai student who found a clever way to make money. He bought Wiley’s texts legally in Thailand, where the prices are lower than in the States, and then resold them (legally) in the USA for a tidy profit, while still undercutting Wiley’s American retail prices. (Which is not hard, considering how high those prices are, especially for science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — texts. One book alone might cost $150 or more.) As you can imagine, Wiley was not pleased, and took Kirtsaeng to court, contending that he was violating its copyright by reselling books intended for Thai consumers in the USA. Two lower courts found in Wiley’s favor, but the Supreme Court overturned those decisions, finding no clear provisions in existing copyright law that would make Kirtsaeng’s enterprise ...

Iowa justices wield impeccable logic, reiterate church-state separation 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — The decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to clear the way for same-sex marriage in that state is big news, but the masterfully clear logic of the court’s ruling is even more impressive. It is worth reading the 69-page ruling, even if you are not a student of the law, just to see how keen minds operate. In addition, the court clearly restated the premise of the separation of church and state enshrined in both the Iowa and U.S. Constitutions. Christian Dominionists are bound to be unhappy about that part of the opinion, since they insist the USA is a “Christian nation” founded on Christian principles. Interestingly, the decision was unanimous. Of the seven justices, two are Republican appointees and the rest are Democratic appointees. Had the decision been split 5-2, critics could cry “liberal bias” and “activist judges.” A unanimous ruling speaks volumes for the power of the law. The issue of course was whether the civil marriage statute in Iowa’s books discriminated against same-sex couples who wish to marry. The Court carefully examined whether same-sex couples were “similar situated” as opposite-sex couples, that is, are their circumstances the same? And does the law as worded ...
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