Greenies Should be Losing Their Minds Over This

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley and and Sons is a case before the Supreme Court this fall which threatens aspects of the 1908 First Sale Doctrine. That older ruling allows people who own a copyrighted item to resell the item without getting permission from the copyright holder. This new case before the court, depending on how broadly the Court writes the ruling, could require resellers of copyrighted items made in Europe, or Asia to get permission from the copyright holders before they sell such products. It could affect resale of numerous products and items which bear copyrighted programming, content and logos.

This case is touched off by the fact that books published outside the country, by American publishers, for use in other countries, are being purchased and brought back into the U.S. for resale.

The publishers, for example, of Pharmer’s son’s anatomy and biochemistry texts, have a version in the U.S., priced more than double that of the version they sell in other countries. Obviously students, who are being bilked unconscionably for tuition costs, are trying to save hundreds of dollars each semester on their book bills, and buying versions published in Southeast Asia or India, etc.

A Court decision against the right of first sale in this case could have far reaching implications:

1) It could impede the ability of individuals to recycle textbooks, and electronic devices, or buy international versions for cheaper prices.
2) It will encourage manufacturers and publishers to produce shoddier merchandise and/or increase planned obsolescence in order to push new items to a consumer less inclined to buy new if they can’t sell the old one.
3) Most significantly, it will exacerbate the problem of often toxic waste and mountainous landfills.

The greenies ought to be camped outside the Supreme Court building throughout the fall over this.

Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril – Jennifer Waters's Consumer Confidential – MarketWatch.