Mysteries I’ll Never Fully Understand: Copyright Law

I’m a little peeved. I’m madly in love with Alfie Boe’s voice.
(He’s sadly silent until he really belts it out at 2:11.)

So I want to buy some beautiful Boe tunes. iTunes has very little to choose from at the moment, as does Amazon. In cd form, most of what I was most interested in simply wasn’t available or wasn’t available in any reasonable time frame. The 2010 album from Les Mis available in the US is a cast recording from the international tour, not the concert with Boe. The 2010 dvd of the concert isn’t available in the United States as far as I can tell, even though I knew in listening to interviews that it was available in the UK. So, a little clicking over to, and I find all of the Alfie Boe albums in stock and ready to deliver, along with the 2010 concert dvd. I’m thinking it’s time to place an international order* when I decide to double check their shipping rules for international shipments. This, my friends, is where copyright law blows my mind.

Books, Music, DVD and Video items
Most countries in the world. Please note that customers in the US and Canada may be restricted to one copy of certain book titles because multiple copies may infringe US copyright laws.

I could understand a warning about dvd country encoding. But what the hell do they mean that my purchase of more than one copy of a book could violate US laws? I thought copyright law was about stealing the work of others. If you offer that item for sale, I agree to your price, and we complete the transaction, that should not be a violation of copyright laws.

That said, I need to figure out what the price would be to ship everything over here since apparently the music companies don’t want our damn Yankee money paying to enjoy the songs of hot English tenors. Pardon me as I go get my fill of my new musical crush.

*I also can’t buy the mp3 versions of said albums due to generically cited “geographical restrictions.”

9 thoughts on “Mysteries I’ll Never Fully Understand: Copyright Law”

  1. Copyright law is ridiculously complicated. I try to stay on the right side of it, but it’s not even clear enough that I can say for sure I haven’t violated it.

  2. I believe it’s not really copyright law that’s at issue. It’s the licensing/distribution agreements. Copyright is only really involved insofar as it’s what protects the property rights licensed.

    Not sure exactly why one copy is OK. Probably something to do with retail vs wholesale distribution rights.

    The geographical restrictions on the mp3s are based on who owns the distribution rights in various countries. It seems kind of silly to me for electronically delivered products. It’s probably a legacy of previous agreements on physical distribution.

    It’s pretty common on some types of products in order to protect foreign dealer networks from being undercut by US dealers.

  3. Well, I’m convinced that even beyond our stupid laws, this purchase is an example of why the music industry wants people to commit piracy. In addition to paying in the higher currency (approximately $52 for 3 cds & a dvd), I actually could not order one album at all. Amazon said it was flagged for not being able to ship to the US, even though they were the ones fulfilling it. (i.e. I wasn’t relying on a third party.)

    Of course, I also had to set up a brand new Amazon account to use their UK store and was forced to use a brand new email address. Because damn their customers who don’t want to be limited by international borders that see thousands of shipments crossing the Atlantic every damn day.

    As Sebastian said while I was trying to set up the order just so I could see how much the international shipping costs would hurt (only about $9, not as bad as I thought), piracy is just easier. It would have been faster to search for pirated copies, but I’m just assuming that opera isn’t exactly the hottest commodity on such networks. We want to give the music companies money, but they don’t seem to want it. This is why they fail.

  4. Frustrating is it not?

    Firms in the US do this regularly – even Amazon itself doesn’t make all the FREE Kindle content available to Australians, and claims that it is due to copyright restrictions.

    For example, I get email from Amazon touting free e-books, only to discover that 7 out of 10 times they actually want to charge me for it, simply because I am in Australia – which they already knew when they made the offer.

  5. Bitter,

    To download content that is geographically restricted, use a proxy server in the country where you want to pretend to be.

    I run into Sirius, Hulu, Netflix and Pandora restricting access to their services when I am out of country. Start up my anonymous proxy and I am good to go.

    Hope this help.

  6. I first learned about the problems with so-called Intellectual Property when I learned about the evils of software patents; at one point, I had read several articles all put under the title “The Case Against Patents”, which put me off patents altogether.

    Since then, I’ve read “Against Intellectual Property” at, and “Against Intellectual Monopoly”, and have become opposed to copyright as well. The first gives a “natural law” explanation of why these things are evil, while the second gives more practical examples–and explains that people will still get paid, and sometimes even get paid more, for their creative works, if there were no copyright.

    Ironically, attempts to enforce copyright usually result in frustration for those who want “honest” copies–or at least, to pay the performers directly–than it does to make sure that the performers get paid for their work!

  7. I don’t have an objection to copyright or patents. The Constitution grants authority to Congress to pass such laws for a very pragmatic reason. But it does seem as though Congress has forgotten that the original reason for these laws was primarily for the benefit of the society, and only secondarily for the benefit of the author or inventor.

    I say that as I start working on a patent application for an easier to install and remove form of tire chains.

  8. May I point out that has been repeatedly rebuked for selling literature that promotes pedophilia. They steadfastly refuses to discontinue the practice.

    I refuse to business with them and I urge others that disagree with adults preying sexually upon children to do likewise.

    Don’t take my word for it. Google NAMBLA and Amazon please.

    I’m not a nutcase or fanatic, but I hate to see people of integrity linking business hits amazon’s way .

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