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Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

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CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4.

At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products.

Under the doctrine, which the Supreme Court has recognized since 1908, you can resell your stuff without worry because the copyright holder only had control over the first sale.

Put simply, though Apple Inc. AAPL -0.96% has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen has it on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad, and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling, it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

“It means that it’s harder for consumers to buy used products and harder for them to sell them,” said Jonathan Band, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association for Research Libraries. “This has huge consumer impact on all consumer groups.”

Another likely result is that it would hit you financially because the copyright holder would now want a piece of that sale.

It could be your personal electronic devices or the family jewels that have been passed down from your great-grandparents who immigrated from Spain. It could be a book that was written by an American writer but printed and bound overseas, or an Italian painter’s artwork.

There are implications for a variety of wide-ranging U.S. entities, including libraries, musicians, museums and even resale juggernauts eBay Inc. EBAY -1.54%  and Craigslist. U.S. libraries, for example, carry some 200 million books from foreign publishers.

“It would be absurd to say anything manufactured abroad can’t be bought or sold here,” said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer and Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation who specializes in technology issues.

The case stems from Supap Kirtsaeng’s college experience. A native of Thailand, Kirtsaeng came to America in 1997 to study at Cornell University. When he discovered that his textbooks, produced by Wiley, were substantially cheaper to buy in Thailand than they were in Ithaca, N.Y., he rallied his Thai relatives to buy the books and ship them to him in the United States.He then sold them on eBay, making upward of $1.2 million, according to court documents.

Wiley, which admitted that it charged less for books sold abroad than it did in the United States, sued him for copyright infringement. Kirtsaeng countered with the first-sale doctrine.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-right-to-resell-your-own-stuff-is-in-peril-2012-10-04?link=MW_story_popular


by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:23 AM
Replies (11-15):
furbabymum
by Gold Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 3:58 PM

 

So how it goes is they go after the small time users and squeeze them just enough to get them to squeal. Then they go up and up and up until they get who they really want, the distributors. So, you are right, a lot of petty users are left on the street. That’s not really the main focus though. There are a lot of big time dealers in federal prison. The goal (that I know will never be reached as the money is way too good) is to put all the dealers away so that the supply drys up.

Quoting UpSheRises:

Fair enough but we both know they are only a fraction of a percentage of the people who are selling drugs. I also understand that you can sometimes get better drugs in prison than you can on the street, another example of drug laws un-enforcibility.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Don't tell our clients drug sales are un-enforceable. They'd be pissed they were in prison!

It'Quoting UpSheRises:
s un-enforcablejust like laws against file sharing, prostitution, and drug purchase. 

They can make all the laws they want people are still going to sell things to other people.

 

 

 

UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 4:39 PM

That's what i am saying though...the laws are useless because the money is too good. It will be the same with selling your dining room set. It's not like the police are going to pull me over with a kitchen table in the bed of my truck and take my to jail for possession with intent to sell, KWIM? How are the police going to catch me selling my son's bike to our neighbor for $5?

Quoting furbabymum:

So how it goes is they go after the small time users and squeeze them just enough to get them to squeal. Then they go up and up and up until they get who they really want, the distributors. So, you are right, a lot of petty users are left on the street. That’s not really the main focus though. There are a lot of big time dealers in federal prison. The goal (that I know will never be reached as the money is way too good) is to put all the dealers away so that the supply drys up.

Quoting UpSheRises:

Fair enough but we both know they are only a fraction of a percentage of the people who are selling drugs. I also understand that you can sometimes get better drugs in prison than you can on the street, another example of drug laws un-enforcibility.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Don't tell our clients drug sales are un-enforceable. They'd be pissed they were in prison!

It'Quoting UpSheRises:
s un-enforcablejust like laws against file sharing, prostitution, and drug purchase. 

They can make all the laws they want people are still going to sell things to other people.

 

 

 


Kate_Momof3
by Silver Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Holy shit.

What's going to happen to American Pickers and Pawn Stars?!?!

furbabymum
by Gold Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 5:28 PM

 I think this thinking is just a little off. I could go sell an 8 ball of meth and not be caught, or I could be caught. Is it really worth the risk? That $5 you make off the bike will not get you years of your life back if you do, by some chance, happen to get caught doing it.

I speed like a demon and I'm only caught about twice a year. I understand your thinking but to me, risk v reward on that one.

Quoting UpSheRises:

That's what i am saying though...the laws are useless because the money is too good. It will be the same with selling your dining room set. It's not like the police are going to pull me over with a kitchen table in the bed of my truck and take my to jail for possession with intent to sell, KWIM? How are the police going to catch me selling my son's bike to our neighbor for $5?

Quoting furbabymum:

So how it goes is they go after the small time users and squeeze them just enough to get them to squeal. Then they go up and up and up until they get who they really want, the distributors. So, you are right, a lot of petty users are left on the street. That’s not really the main focus though. There are a lot of big time dealers in federal prison. The goal (that I know will never be reached as the money is way too good) is to put all the dealers away so that the supply drys up.

Quoting UpSheRises:

Fair enough but we both know they are only a fraction of a percentage of the people who are selling drugs. I also understand that you can sometimes get better drugs in prison than you can on the street, another example of drug laws un-enforcibility.

Quoting furbabymum:

 Don't tell our clients drug sales are un-enforceable. They'd be pissed they were in prison!

It'Quoting UpSheRises:
s un-enforcablejust like laws against file sharing, prostitution, and drug purchase. 

They can make all the laws they want people are still going to sell things to other people.

 

 

 

 

 

pampire
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 6:43 PM

I think quantity needs to be factored in to any discussion.  There is a big difference in me selling off my CDs , hockey card collection or what have you and this guy importing 1000s of the same item and selling them for a profit.

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