The Supreme Court issued a 4-4 per curiam decision affirming (pdf) the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision in Costco vs. Omega. Basically Omega sells its watches cheaper abroad, and Costco was re-importing them from a reseller to give the discount to US customers. This was a copyright violation, says Omega, and the Ninth Circuit reverse the lower court decision in favor of Costco. Why does this matter? As I mentioned earlier, a decision for Costco would let resellers sell cheap textbooks in the US. When I was in Delhi I picked up a copy of Feller Vol. 1 (the Vol. 2 was a little beat up so I decided to get it another time) for Rs. 400 (under 10 bucks), a savings of over $120 from the price on Amazon. Admittedly, it’s softcover and the paper is not quite as nice, but the way publishers gouge people on technical books is astonishing.