US SUP Court: Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

by
October 8, 2012

By Jennifer Waters, MarketWatch

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 -0.55% 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.

To read more, visit: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-right-to-resell-your-own-stuff-is-in-peril-2012-10-04

3 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • Rattlerjake says:

    No, they shouldn’t be impeached, they should be taken out back and hung. Then we need to finish the job by rounding up all of the rest of the lawyers in this country and hang them too. It’s lawyers that have destroyed this country, with their liberal mindset and ability and determination to force control on all of us through the laws they have created through the liberal agenda. Our citizen rights are infringed upon every day, from BS county and city ordinances, to tax laws, to strict family and lax criminal laws, and because the majority of politicians are lawyers. We have become a country of laws, not freedom.

  • Tim says:

    Those unwilling to use force to either obtain or else preserve their liberty deserve the tyrants who rule them.-Thomas Jefferson

  • CTH says:

    If this is upheld by the Supreme Court those on the Court voting for it should be impeached.. Those voting for such an absurdity on the Court of Appeals should also be impeached.

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