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Re: [dvd-discuss] Geeks in government: A good idea?

Jon Lech Johansen wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 17, 2002 at 05:10:31AM -0400, PSYchiccr@aol.com (PSYchiccr@aol.com) wrote:
>>Region Free players are in all European stores right now..............
> "Now" being the operative word. The "Norwegian Video Association" (which
> consists of distributors) have stated that they interpret the EUCD as 
> outlawing the sale of Region Free players and the sale of non-Region2 
> DVDs.

They are probably right with regards to sale of non-r2 (community
exhaustion of first sale, see eucd art. 4.2).

It would however be interesting to see how they are able to argue
that selling region free/multiregion players is illegal. Import for
personal use is covered by neither parallel import laws nor community
exhaustion, so there is certainly a legal use for region free players
even if commercial import of non-r2 movies is illegal.

> This is referred to as parallelimport
> and is an amendment to Norwegian copyright law introduced by a single
> politician in 1993. Despite the Justice Department being critical of the
> amendment, it passed. A group of 3 politicians tried to get it removed
> in 1997 and 1998. A recent report from the Judicial Faculty at the
> University of Oslo concludes that the law has to be revised as soon as
> possible.


Even if 54(e) is revoked, we will soon have to contend with community
exhaustion from the eucd - which is in many respects worse.

According to 54e, it is illegal to import sound and movie recordings
from abroad with the intent to make them available for commercial
purposes (i.e., resell) if the manufacturer of the recordings has not
consented to the import and copies of the same recordings are made
available with consent of the manufacturer in the country.

I.e., it is illegal to import music or movies if the rightholder has
given someone else the [exclusive] right to sell copies in Norway.

Parallel import law requires that the rightholder has given someone
an [exclusive] right to make available a work in a given country or
market in order to make it illegal to import copies from outside the
market. Community exhaustion has no such requirement. If a DVD is
never made available in EU, it is still illegal according to
community exhaustion to import those DVDs from abroad. Think of it
as a Festung Europa with regards to imports. No, I don't like it.