The Supreme Court will soon hear a case that will affect whether you can sell your iPad — or almost anything else — without needing to get permission from a dozen “copyright holders.” Here are some things you might have recently done that will be rendered illegal if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court decision:
1. Sold your first-generation iPad on Craigslist to a willing buyer, even if you bought the iPad lawfully at the Apple Store.
2. Sold your dad’s used Omega watch on eBay to buy him a fancier (used or new) Rolex at a local jewelry store.
3. Sold an “import CD” of your favorite band that was only released abroad but legally purchased there. Ditto for a copy of a French or Spanish novel not released in the U.S.
4. Sold your house to a willing buyer, so long as you sell your house along with the fixtures manufactured in China, a chandelier made in Thailand or Paris, support beams produced in Canada that carry the imprint of a copyrighted logo, or a bricks or a marble countertop made in Italy with any copyrighted features or insignia.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Basis for the lawsuit and upcoming decision concerns this:
John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher, sells expensive versions of the textbooks here and less expensive versions abroad. Supap Kirtsaeng, a foreign graduate student at University of Southern California, decided to help pay for his schooling by having relatives buy him copies of the foreign versions abroad, send them to him, whereupon he’d sell those books on eBay to willing students. He’d make money, the students would save money, but Wiley might have fewer sales of its pricey American versions. The case is styled Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons.
Sounds like market arbitrage to me. Globalization at work. Copyright law shouldn’t come into effect, imho.