I don't think this is off topic. In fact, the imminent death of copyright is maybe the most important topic in film (or books or music) today. I think it may result--just possibly--in a saner, more lively culture. And not necessarily at the expense of the author.
Not only are those bookstores referred to below not doing anything illegal, but the "Doctrine of First Sale" actually prevents them from reimbursing either the publisher or the author for resales!
Earlier in the day I took a call from a Professor Kelly at the University of Maine who had spent days tracking me down to obtain rights to xerox for his class a few pages from a book I wrote called "American Film Now" which has been out of print for 12 years. I'll make more from the pennies a page he pays the Copyright Clearance Center than I would from sales of used textbooks.
Of course, the videotapes the original poster was looking for, if they were available, were undoubtedly pirated. That's different. But it wouldn't happen if the rightsholders of these films continued to make them available to the public.
Paul Goldstein's "Copyright's Highway" is an excellent intro to this subject (and a great read), if you can find a copy. It is currently out of print, so make sure you send Paul some money if you buy it used!
There are several articles on the subject here:
> >I understand 'grey market' to mean the retail sale of an object
>>which is legal but against the wishes of the manufacturer. For >example, if I had bought 200 'Star Wars' videos before they were >withdrawn in 1998, from a wholesaler and paying good money for them, >I would be committing no crime if I were to sell them in a shop now, >despite the fact that Lucas would not want me to.
>Maybe this is starting to move off topic but: "Grey market" might have a shifting meaning but this example would not qualify. Not only is such reselling completely legal (nothing grey about it) as the post pointed out but it would mean that huge numbers of used book, record and video stores/dealers would be grey market which clearly would make the term meaningless. Something that many of you will be familiar with is that textbook publishers go to great lengths to prevent textbooks from being resold but that doesn't mean that most American universities are operating grey market bookstores because they are reselling (legally) textbooks.
>Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite