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Electronic Frontier Foundation Your Rights Online

Defending the First Sale Doctrine 338

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recaps two court cases pending in the U.S. which will decide whether you're allowed to re-sell the things you purchase. The first case deals with items bought in other countries for resale in the U.S., such as textbooks. An unfavorable decision there would mean "anything that is made in a foreign country and contains copies of copyrighted material – from the textbooks at issue in the Kirtsaeng case to shampoo bottles with copyrighted labels – could be blocked from resale, lending, or gifting without the permission of the copyright owner. That would create a nightmare for consumers and businesses, upending used goods markets and undermining what it really means to 'buy' and 'own' physical goods. The ruling also creates a perverse incentive for U.S. businesses to move their manufacturing operations abroad. It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended." The second case is about whether music purchased on services like iTunes can be resold to other people. "Not only does big content deny that first sale doctrine applies to digital goods, but they are also trying to undermine the first sale rights we do have by forcing users to license items they would rather buy. The copyright industry wants you to "license" all your music, your movies, your games — and lose your rights to sell them or modify them as you see fit."
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Defending the First Sale Doctrine

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  • by spamchang ( 302052 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @09:49PM (#42391499) Journal

    I guess this applies to used cars as well. Secondary markets alleviate economic inefficiencies in pricing...goodbye free market?

  • by ZorroXXX ( 610877 ) <hlovdal AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @10:22PM (#42391651)
    Back in the days, Borland was a refreshingly sound and sensible manufacturer, trusting its customers (as opposed to others' love for dongles or code wheels or whatnot). If you are not familiar with Borlands's No-Nonsense License Statement, by all means read the full story [].

    This software is protected by both United States copyright law and international copyright treaty provisions. Therefore, you must treat this software just like a book, except that you may copy it onto a computer to be used and you may make archival copies of the software for the sole purpose of backing-up our software and protecting your investment from loss.


  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @11:14PM (#42391857)
    Could we do to copyright what companies do to avoid paying real estate tax in California? In CA, properties aren't reassessed for tax purposes unless they are sold. So companies don't sell real estate, they sell a shell company that technically owns the property. The property never actually changes ownership, so the taxes remain based on its valuation from 1982 or whatever. So we just need a free way to set up a corporation. Have your corporation buy an mp3 or a movie. When you're done with it, sell the corporation for $3. Problem solved.
  • by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @11:18PM (#42391873)

    In Omega v. Costco [] it was already decided that there is no first sale doctrine for goods manufactured outside of the USA. The case went to the Supreme Court two years ago but the court was split 4-4 (Kagan recused herself) so the lower (9th District) Court decision stood.

    There already no first sale doctrine for foreign goods in California and the rest of the 9th District.

  • Re:This is... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:01AM (#42392047)

    Plus, if I did through some catastrophe (say, a housefire, which would also destroy your physical collection), re-torrenting is trivial.

    If you don't mind 600x400 resolution with low bitrate MP3 audio, then you can find most everything, but if DVD quality is the worst you'll accept, then it's actually quite hard to find active torrents of older content, unless it's insanely popular (or at least very popular among computer geeks).

    If you want HD, then it's even tougher, even with some content that is still actively for sale. Also, I have noticed that torrents seem to follow basic economics...once the original source is cheap enough, the torrent tends to become unseeded.

  • Re:Get real! (Score:4, Informative)

    by genkernel ( 1761338 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @12:06AM (#42392071)

    Not entirely true. Wall street did back Romney much more than Obama, but Obama was also primarily supported by the 1%, just not to the extent that Mitt was. A quick search shows that large tech firms (M$, Apple, Google), the MPIAA firms (Disney, Time Warner, etc.), and various finance firms (many were also top Romney supporters) among Obama's top supporters.

  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @01:56AM (#42392483)

    1) Amazon has a special license from the publisher to distribute.
    2)Amazon doesn't buy anything from the publishers--books are sold essentially on consignment.

  • by pepty ( 1976012 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @03:41AM (#42392823)

    "Organic" is a marketing term that is largely undefined.

    Actually, the term "Organic" is very carefully defined - by the very large agribusiness concerns that control the board that decides which practices are allowed under the organic label in the USA. Oddly enough, those practices are increasingly the ones that garner large profits for large agribusinesses, as opposed to the ones that fit the "organic" aesthetic or suit the small farms that people envision as being the producers of organic foods.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @05:43AM (#42393239) Journal

    For the sake of clarity:
    When the Supreme Court handed down a split decision, the case was remanded into Federal court,
    even though SCOTUS's actions meant the 9th circuit court's decision in favor of Omega was upheld.
    The Federal Court decided in favor of Costco, Omega appealed, and the last I heard, Costco won the appeal []

    TLDR: Your grey market imports are legal everywhere in the USA that isn't the 9th District.
    Extra Explainer: SCOTUS was hearing a case relating to this type of copyright (mis)use and the 9th circuit court was holding off on (re-)hearing related cases until SCOTUS has spoken.

  • You OWN it. . . (Score:4, Informative)

    by kimvette ( 919543 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:08AM (#42393291) Homepage Journal

    You OWN the content you buy on DVD or Blu-Ray, etc. and the content producers actually acknowledge this in their advertising. When was the last time you saw or heard an ad for a movie on blu-ray or DVD? What do they say? Do they say "License it on Blu-Ray or DVD today?" No, the advertisements say "Own it on Blu-Ray or DVD today!"

    They explicitly acknowledge that you OWN that copy (it is NOT licensed, it is SOLD). It is the distribution rights you do not get with that copy of the media that you own. You can resell that one copy you bought (and if you've made backups which are defensible under Fair Use you must either destroy the backups or transfer those backups with the original when you resell it) if you want. You just cannot violate copyright by making copies to distribute.

  • Re:Inheritance (Score:5, Informative)

    by immaterial ( 1520413 ) on Wednesday December 26, 2012 @06:24AM (#42393333)
    Congratulations on getting a +5 informative moderation on your post for referring to UK tabloid bullshit that was debunked the very same day [] by Willis' wife [] on Twitter [].
  • There were thousands of computers and tens of thousands of computer hours.

    By Moore's Law, this is 20 years away from being an overnight job for a home PC. Home production of modern-big-budget-film quality will happen in the not-too-distant future. We should be thinking now about how to optimise the laws to allow society to benefit from it.

    There is a whole lot to making movies that can't be automated... or at least it shows as a low quality film if people try. Compare Xtranormal videos to even something like a video shot with a $50 camera and somebody who took time to actually edit a film with something like Microsoft Movie Studio. It simply takes time and a whole lot of talent to get the job done.

    There certainly have been many movie making tasks that have been automated or things like a digital non-linear editing system that used to be literally impossible to perform in the past that can now be downloaded for free (both beer and in freedom depending on the software) that do a really good job. That might get rid of about half of the jobs on a typical big budget film today compared to about 30 years ago. It isn't going to be an "overnight job" for a home PC any time soon regardless of what miracles you think Moore's Law brings.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva