piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
of course, i'd have said, since we're talking actual physical goods, not ebooks or software (don't get me started!) -- this is actually under question?

oh yes, it is. and to me it seems to not have attracted enough attention in the mainstream media so far -- which is how the MPAA, RIAA and their ilk like it.

the US supreme court is set to hear argument in "kirtsaeng v john wiley & sons" starting on october 29th. thai student supang kirtsaeng, while studying in the US, discovered that the expensive textbooks required for his courses could be bought much cheaper in thailand. so he had his relatives buy and ship them to him. being an enterprising young man, he then built a business on this discrepancy by selling textbooks on ebay, where publisher wiley & sons took notice and sued him for copyright infringement. which they won in the lower courts.

and that opens a nasty can of worms, which could lead to your next ebay -- or garage -- sale being illegal, depending on whether the items you sell were made abroad. there is a thing called the "doctrine of first sale" in the US limiting copyright and trademark rights, which means you can resell any copyrighted item if you have bought it legally, without permission or any further payment to the copyright owner. the US supreme court affirmed this right in 1998, regarding goods manufactured in the US, even if they were originally sold abroad.

but when it comes to products sold in foreign markets, there's also a statute concerning imports (and when reading this, you can immediately tell which industry had extraordinary influence in its creation). which is how supang kirtsaeng ended up getting sued. ok, you could say that kirtsaeng was acting more like an importer than an individual, but the law doesn't actually make a distinction between selling one ipad (assembled in china) and thousands. huge secondary markets rely on the doctrine of first sale -- i have no idea what percentage of the economy, but it's got to be significant. ebay, craigslist, amazon market, goodwill, the salvation army -- oh, and libraries could be affected.

so yeah, y'all need to pay attention to this one. i find it ridiculous that certain intellectual property owners want theirs to be protected better than any other type of property, screwing with our rights and liberties in the process.

more detail on the legal issues:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/if-youve-ever-sold-a-used-ipod-you-may-have-violated-copyright-law/258276/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnvillasenor/2012/10/21/can-copyrighted-works-purchased-abroad-be-resold-in-the-united-states/

a citizengroup formed to fight the continued expansion of copyright: http://ownershiprights.org/
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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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