Under that law, sellers must produce a certificate of authenticity and maintain detailed records of every sale for seven years.
Sellers must, among other things:
- Note the purchase price and date of sale,
- specify whether the item is part of a limited edition,
- note the size of the edition, anticipate any future editions,
- disclose whether the seller is bonded,
- divulge any previous owner’s name and address,
- if the book was signed in the presence of the seller, specify the date and location of the signing, and identify a witness to the autograph.
Failure to disclose any of the required details, or to keep the certificate for the full seven years, results in outrageous penalties.
Even an inadvertent omission can subject a seller to actual damages, plus a civil penalty of up to 10 times the damages, plus court costs, plus reasonable attorney’s fees, plus expert witness fees, plus interest.
Professional plaintiff’s lawyers must be chomping at the bit.
If Bill sold just 100 signed copies of a $30 book, but six years later, couldn’t locate the records noting the size of the edition, he’d be liable for (at minimum) $30,000.
...Even worse than irrational, the law is pernicious: despite the law’s vast breadth (it also covers paintings, sculptures, and auctioneers), certain sellers have secured exemptions.
Online retailers and pawn shops, those places where uninformed buyers are most vulnerable, do not have to comply..."