“Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril”
Of course it is. Private property as a cornerstone of individual liberty? That whole idea is like, over a hundred years old! 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. 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.
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. 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.
In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that anything that was manufactured overseas is not subject to the first-sale principle. Only American-made products or “copies manufactured domestically” were.
[...] a decision in favor of the lower court would lead to some strange, even absurd consequences. For example, it could become an incentive for manufacturers to have everything produced overseas because they would be able to control every resale.
It could also become a weighty issue for auto trade-ins and resales, considering about 40% of most U.S.-made cars carry technology and parts that were made overseas.
This is a particularly important decision for the likes of eBay and Craigslist, whose very business platform relies on the secondary marketplace. If sellers had to get permission to peddle their wares on the sites, they likely wouldn’t do it.
Moreover, a major manufacturer would likely go to eBay to get it to pull a for-sale item off the site than to the individual seller [...]
In its friend-of-the-court brief, eBay noted that the Second Circuit’s rule “affords copyright owners the ability to control the downstream sales of goods for which they have already been paid.” What’s more, it “allows for significant adverse consequences for trade, e-commerce, secondary markets, small businesses, consumers and jobs in the United States.”
It’s so cute when the capitalists describe as a bug what it is those looking to topple our system and redistribute global wealth and power consider a feature.
At any rate, I wonder: would foreign “copyright holders” looking to get a cut of resale monies have any kind of policing power in the US? That is, even if the Roberts court goes along with the destruction of the modern capitalist system and incentivizes US businesses to move production and jobs overseas in order to claim resale tribute, wouldn’t the proper response of the US citizen be to tell any country wishing to reach a US market to either wave the right, or else we boycott their stuff?
For its part, a (hopefully) GOP controlled Congress could then fast-track a grandfather clause before working to rewrite legislation to fix the problem — which shouldnt be a problem, were we not so hellbent, apparently, on committing national suicide. Or maybe murder is the better metaphor, depending on which side of political aisle you site.
So, I ask again, because I need to be sure: What the fuck country is this again?