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Resell rights

2012-10-08 17:50:42.032489+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Marketwatch: Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril.

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.

Yes: We need it solidly enshrined in the law that you own what you purchase. Of course this'll play hell with all sorts of copyright and DRM issues, and that's okay. This "you rent the ability to do only what we want you to do with it" that we're seeing, especially in embedded devices, has to lose its legal protection.

[ related topics: Books Music Robotics Law Consumerism and advertising Embedded Devices Copyright/Trademark ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2012-10-09 16:20:20.306226+00 by: Dan Lyke

Interesting discussion over at MetaFilter, specifically calling out Omega v Costco (in which Costco was selling imported watches at lower prices than the Omega licensed U.S. distributor) and this suggestion that U.S. law doesn't allow parallel import.

Also Us Copyright Office on Title 17 § 602(a)(1):

Importation into the United States, without the authority of the owner of copyright under this title, of copies or phonorecords of a work that have been acquired outside the United States is an infringement of the exclusive right to distribute copies or phonorecords under section 106, actionable under section 501.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-10-08 22:31:06.959279+00 by: Larry Burton

Going after First Sale doctrine, if it works, is more lucrative for them. If it doesn't work they can lobby for the import tariff.

#Comment Re: made: 2012-10-08 21:04:57.753321+00 by: Dan Lyke

In this particular case, Supap Kirtsaeng was buying books overseas priced for the overseas market, importing them, and then reselling them.

Seems like there's a way around this, having those books taxed at import, but it sounds (from the usually bad journalism stuff) that John Wiley & Sons is going after First Sale doctrine rather than stopping with import tariffs...

#Comment Re: made: 2012-10-08 20:57:00.964061+00 by: spc476

I asked my cousin, a lawyer, about copyright with respect to books. He said (and since he didn't charge me, it's probably not legally binding advice, etc.) that when you “buy” a book, you are actually obtaining a license to read the contents and when you “sell” a book, you are transferring your license to the other party. With physical books this works, because you no longer have a copy of the text to read. With electronic books however …