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(Ars Technica)   Supreme court case might kill sales of used books, CD's, and grey-market electronics. On the plus side, it might end those annoying overstock.com commercials   (arstechnica.com) divider line 176
    More: Scary, supreme courts, supreme court cases, first sale, used good, ownership rights, amicus briefs, intellectual property, electronics  
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5831 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Oct 2012 at 7:32 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-29 07:40:18 AM
It would also kill libraries. The little people must not be allowed to check out books instead of buying a new copy.
 
2012-10-29 07:41:20 AM
I don't have much faith in the Supreme Court these days, but I still hope they're not durpy enough to rule in favor if the publishers.

But even if they do,both the Soviet Union and Occupied Europe during WW2 had thriving black market industries. You can expect the same thing to happen here.
 
2012-10-29 07:41:29 AM
I think "there's no way that this is gonna pass mustard," but then I remember Citizen's United, and what a corporate WHORE the current court is.

/good bye economy, it was nice having you.
 
2012-10-29 07:53:02 AM
Impossible to enforce and detrimental the entire economy if they try.


Nah.
 
2012-10-29 07:55:10 AM
You just rephrase it.

I am giving you this $20 as a gift.
Oh, thank you for the CD. It is a nice gift.
 
2012-10-29 07:57:12 AM
Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".
 
2012-10-29 07:58:38 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


Kind of like how Americans are subsidizing cheap medication for everyone else?
 
2012-10-29 07:59:41 AM
The question is why are these publishers not being taken to court for charging $200+ dollars for a book?
 
2012-10-29 08:01:33 AM
i'm renting this item to the other guy for 99 years. done.
 
2012-10-29 08:02:43 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


But isn't that what companies do all the time? Especially with offshoring labor and whatnot?
 
2012-10-29 08:07:42 AM

Felgraf: narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".

But isn't that what companies do all the time? Especially with offshoring labor and whatnot?



yeah, but they're supposed to.
 
Esn
2012-10-29 08:08:17 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


Give me a good reason for why the North American prices should be so high.

If the publishers can't survive without prices like that, maybe that's just too bad. Since countries like China are much more successful than the US in educating their citizens these days, maybe the US will just have to translate the Chinese textbooks.

It would probably be an improvement.
 
2012-10-29 08:11:57 AM
For interesting and enlightened comments on the issue:

http://www.fark.com/comments/7367943/Supreme-Court-to-decide-whether- n ot-youre-allowed-to-resell-your-own-stuff
 
2012-10-29 08:12:32 AM

Vertdang: I think "there's no way that this is gonna pass mustard," but then I remember Citizen's United, and what a corporate WHORE the current court is.

/good bye economy, it was nice having you.


digboston.com

...muster. The phrase is "pass muster", not mustard. Passing mustard isn't difficult, but it can make your poo yellow.
 
2012-10-29 08:13:13 AM
 
2012-10-29 08:15:20 AM

Esn: Give me a good reason for why the North American prices should be so high.


Because executives' children's $50k annual boarding school isn't going to pay for itself.
 
2012-10-29 08:18:34 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


How is what he did wrong or illegal? Dis he not import the books correctly?
 
2012-10-29 08:18:57 AM
The more abstract the law, the more important it is to keep it simple.

Ownership has never been a property of matter. It is simply a function of the mind. It is a product of imagination that is widely regarded as useful. This puts it into dubious company with such creations as hope, joy, love, hate, envy, honor, etc. I'm sure we should legislate all of these. It just sounds right, doesn't it? After all, law is simply a function of the mind, too.

This is a good sign though. If we have enough time to devote to this, then clearly we have reality figured out.
 
2012-10-29 08:20:32 AM

pxlboy: narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".

Kind of like how Americans are subsidizing cheap medication for everyone else?


As an Australian, I'm pretty sure you're not subsidizing(sic) cheap medication for me.
 
2012-10-29 08:24:14 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


After spending 80 bucks on books instead of 800 this semester, I'm getting a kick out of this.
 
2012-10-29 08:27:08 AM
I'm sure that which ever side has the most money, will pay to play with Scalia and that's who is going to come out on top.
 
2012-10-29 08:33:26 AM

Esn: If the publishers can't survive without prices like that, maybe that's just too bad. Since countries like China are much more successful than the US in educating their citizens these days, maybe the US will just have to translate the Chinese textbooks.

It would probably be an improvement.



Do not apply weight above 220.462 pounds upon this book or else you may cause the book broken and injure yourself.
 
2012-10-29 08:33:58 AM

Vertdang: I think "there's no way that this is gonna pass mustard," but then I remember Citizen's United, and what a corporate WHORE the current court is.

/good bye economy, it was nice having you.


Warning: do not GIS "pass mustard."
 
2012-10-29 08:37:31 AM
As someone who will have a kid in college next year. What foreign booksellers sell the discounted textbooks? Anybody know?
 
2012-10-29 08:40:58 AM

narkor: This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit


You haven't established why that is a bad thing. Arbitrage is a vital part of any market-based economy. The publisher's approach to arbitrage is rooted in an information differential- until recently, tracking prices of something as mundane as textbooks, plus managing shipping and purchase was difficult enough to make arbitrage impractical.

But now it isn't. If textbook manufacturers want protectionist restrictions to prevent importation, they should focus instead on lobbying for import duties on book imports. They shouldn't be trying this ridiculous copyright maximalization approach.
 
2012-10-29 08:47:55 AM

narkor: This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.


He was acting as a distributor/importer, that the publisher had a hissy fit isn't his problem and to say he was violating copyright is preposterous.
 
2012-10-29 08:50:42 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


So all these publishers sell all these books at below cost in the far east, at the expense of their US profits, just out of the kindness of their hearts? Can I interest you in some prime real estate in Florida?

Corporations use the global marketplace when it suits them, getting stuff made by cheap labour and shipping it to the US and Europe, but the moment an individual take advantage of the same free trade they cry foul! They're not allowed to do that!

And I say this as a guy who is quite often on the side of corporations.
 
2012-10-29 08:51:24 AM

t3knomanser: narkor: This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit

You haven't established why that is a bad thing. Arbitrage is a vital part of any market-based economy. The publisher's approach to arbitrage is rooted in an information differential- until recently, tracking prices of something as mundane as textbooks, plus managing shipping and purchase was difficult enough to make arbitrage impractical.

But now it isn't. If textbook manufacturers want protectionist restrictions to prevent importation, they should focus instead on lobbying for import duties on book imports. They shouldn't be trying this ridiculous copyright maximalization approach.


Humorously enough, this is actually copyright minimalism. Copyright law is territorial. American copyright law technically only applies in America, although through treaties we have some ability to ask other countries to do certain things.

The crux of this case is that the "first sale" did not happen in america. Thus, by the general rules, the publishers are arguing that it does not trigger 17 U.S.C. § 109. It is the other side, the side buying abroad and importing that is arguing that American Copyright law has international reach.

This is not to say that one side or another has the better argument, but that is the actual issue, as it was in Costco v. Omega.
 
2012-10-29 08:54:04 AM
We already learned in Kelo v. New London that there is no such thing as private property ownership.
 
kab
2012-10-29 08:55:25 AM
Publishers - going down the same road that big record labels were dragged. Kicking and screaming the whole way.

As for the wider-scope view of this case, making the sale of second hand goods illegal? Yeah, best of luck actually enforcing that.
 
2012-10-29 08:55:46 AM

pjbreeze: I'm sure that which ever side has the most money, will pay to play with Scalia and that's who is going to come out on top.


Actually Scalia appeared to be on the side of the resellers, and Ginsburg was on the side of the copyright holders the last time this came up.
 
2012-10-29 09:00:39 AM

kab: As for the wider-scope view of this case, making the sale of second hand goods illegal? Yeah, best of luck actually enforcing that.


Once more - misleading headline aside, this is the actual issue:

1) American Law says if you buy a copyrighted material, you can then sell it at your leisure without worrying about the wishes of the author
2) However american copyright applies only in america
3) Alice lives abroad
4) Bob sells Book in Alice's country
5) Alice buys Book in her country
6) Alice resells Book in America

Thus the question is, does 1) apply because of 2) and 5)?

Note: that if first sale does apply abroad then why shouldn't infringement also apply abroad? a potential downside of allowing extraterritorial reach of 1st sale is that it could allow US publishers to apply US copyright law against people who infringe completely outside the US.
 
2012-10-29 09:01:02 AM
It's cases like this that I wish for a legally binding National Referendum.
 
2012-10-29 09:04:12 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


This sounds like a matter for Customs, not an IP case in front of the Supreme Court.
 
2012-10-29 09:05:50 AM

YodaBlues: Vertdang: I think "there's no way that this is gonna pass mustard," but then I remember Citizen's United, and what a corporate WHORE the current court is.

/good bye economy, it was nice having you.

[digboston.com image 375x300]

...muster. The phrase is "pass muster", not mustard. Passing mustard isn't difficult, but it can make your poo yellow.



I'm certain that I have passed very hot mustard after a late night on expensive curry and cheap lager.
 
2012-10-29 09:07:08 AM

narkor: Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand.


Explain to me why a textbook which hasn't substantially changed in 20 years should have a retail price of $150 in the US but only $50 overseas.
 
2012-10-29 09:09:23 AM

shpritz: This sounds like a matter for Customs, not an IP case in front of the Supreme Court.


Importation of infringing works is prohibited and it is customs that enforces it - see 17 U.S.C. 602, 603. This case was a customs case.
 
2012-10-29 09:10:00 AM

Teiritzamna: the side buying abroad and importing that is arguing that American Copyright law has international reach.


Not really, because they're only claiming that US copyright law applies within US borders. No one is saying that the right-of-first-sale applies in China. But they are saying that things purchased in China were purchased, and when they enter the US, US laws apply.

Teiritzamna: is that it could allow US publishers to apply US copyright law against people who infringe completely outside the US.


Not really. But there is a seriously negative impact: other nations have different copyright laws, and this means that one nation could establish exceedingly loose protections and then make a cottage industry of piracy which gets resold to 1st world nations. The issue is that I don't think that it's in the interests of the US, or any nation, to strengthen copyright to control that. Instead, we're dealing with importation- so use import restrictions to control it. It's more flexible, and it puts the barrier at the point-of-entry.
 
2012-10-29 09:10:52 AM

Dwight_Yeast: Explain to me why a textbook which hasn't substantially changed in 20 years should have a retail price of $150 in the US but only $50 overseas.


because, just like boys in high school, if a businessman can fark you, they will. It's a delightfully captive market, where everyone in it is forced to buy something, so you jack the price as high as the market will bear because there is no demand elasticity.
 
2012-10-29 09:11:20 AM

shpritz: This sounds like a matter for Customs, not an IP case in front of the Supreme Court.


It's an IP case as the only thing that prevents you from importing and selling cheap (and cheaply-made) textbooks from overseas is copyright law. If you read TFA, you'll see that the foreign textbooks are marked with at statement limiting where they can be sold. The question is: is that legal or not?
 
2012-10-29 09:11:41 AM

narkor: Typical Ars Technica freetard rubbish. Ars Technica makes Slashdot look sane when it comes to issues around intellectual property.

Sales in 1st world economies were subsidizing sales in places like Thailand. Thai students got things cheap because they were subsidized by the sales in the US.

This wanker decided to import the discounted books from Thailand to sell at a profit in the US.

This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit.

In the long run, publishers are just going to say "fark it - everyone pays the same price" and it won't be the "discounted price".


So that makes the publishers right in some way? That doesn't sound like copyright infringement. That sounds like interference with a business model. Luckily, "interference with a business model" is still not a crime here.
 
2012-10-29 09:15:59 AM

t3knomanser: Not really, because they're only claiming that US copyright law applies within US borders. No one is saying that the right-of-first-sale applies in China. But they are saying that things purchased in China were purchased, and when they enter the US, US laws apply.


Actually, the application of First Sale in china is exactly what this is about. The relevant text of 17 U.S.C. 109 is as follows:

the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

Thus the issue is - if the product is made abroad and bought abroad, is it a copy "under this title?" (note if a product is made in the US, then sold abroad, first sale applies, see Quality King Distributors Inc., v. L'anza Research International Inc., 523 U.S. 135 (1998)). The whole point of the case is whether US law applies to products made and sold abroad.
 
2012-10-29 09:17:08 AM

YodaBlues: Vertdang: I think "there's no way that this is gonna pass mustard," but then I remember Citizen's United, and what a corporate WHORE the current court is.

/good bye economy, it was nice having you.

[digboston.com image 375x300]

...muster. The phrase is "pass muster", not mustard. Passing mustard isn't difficult, but it can make your poo yellow.


goddamn you autocorrect. From hells heart I spit at thee!
 
2012-10-29 09:18:59 AM

Dwight_Yeast: Explain to me why a textbook which hasn't substantially changed in 20 years should have a retail price of $150 in the US but only $50 overseas.


Because people in the US are willing and able to pay $150 while overseas students are not.
 
2012-10-29 09:23:11 AM

Dwight_Yeast: If you read TFA, you'll see that the foreign textbooks are marked with at statement limiting where they can be sold. The question is: is that legal or not?


Except that they've already been sold there legally. Once it's out of the publisher's hands they should lose all control over the product.

I'm not a copyright expert by any stretch but I have some friends who run second hand shops and deal with a lot of imported music and movies. This could cause some issues for them if the publishers prevail.
 
2012-10-29 09:25:21 AM

Teiritzamna: t3knomanser: narkor: This wasn't about some stopping you selling used books - it was about stopping some "entrepreneur" from gaming the system to his profit

You haven't established why that is a bad thing. Arbitrage is a vital part of any market-based economy. The publisher's approach to arbitrage is rooted in an information differential- until recently, tracking prices of something as mundane as textbooks, plus managing shipping and purchase was difficult enough to make arbitrage impractical.

But now it isn't. If textbook manufacturers want protectionist restrictions to prevent importation, they should focus instead on lobbying for import duties on book imports. They shouldn't be trying this ridiculous copyright maximalization approach.

Humorously enough, this is actually copyright minimalism. Copyright law is territorial. American copyright law technically only applies in America, although through treaties we have some ability to ask other countries to do certain things.

The crux of this case is that the "first sale" did not happen in america. Thus, by the general rules, the publishers are arguing that it does not trigger 17 U.S.C. § 109. It is the other side, the side buying abroad and importing that is arguing that American Copyright law has international reach.

This is not to say that one side or another has the better argument, but that is the actual issue, as it was in Costco v. Omega.


Came in for this. The last time first sale was up to SCOTUS, Ginsberg's concurring opinion reminded us that the case's upholding first sale against the right to import was limited to the facts...that is, that products manufactured within the US, distributed abroad, then resold within the U.S.

I haven't read the case yet, but I imagine what is happening is that the issue is how the first sale doctrine applies when it conflicts with the right to import. I suspect that the right to import will prevail.

Note this is not a constitutional issue, it is a statutory interpretation issue. So even if SCOTUS does something Congress doesn't like, Congress can change the decision by altering the statute.
 
2012-10-29 09:26:45 AM

Macinfarker: Note this is not a constitutional issue, it is a statutory interpretation issue. So even if SCOTUS does something Congress doesn't like, Congress can change the decision by altering the statute.


Yuppers.

Of course they won't - but that is a different story . . .
 
2012-10-29 09:30:16 AM

t3knomanser: Not really. But there is a seriously negative impact: other nations have different copyright laws, and this means that one nation could establish exceedingly loose protections and then make a cottage industry of piracy which gets resold to 1st world nations. The issue is that I don't think that it's in the interests of the US, or any nation, to strengthen copyright to control that. Instead, we're dealing with importation- so use import restrictions to control it. It's more flexible, and it puts the barrier at the point-of-entry.


That's why the right to import was put in to the statute.

I think the case that covers this (and I did not yet go back and read it) is Quality King Distributors v. L'Anza Research International.
 
2012-10-29 09:30:16 AM

Hagbardr: Esn: If the publishers can't survive without prices like that, maybe that's just too bad. Since countries like China are much more successful than the US in educating their citizens these days, maybe the US will just have to translate the Chinese textbooks.

It would probably be an improvement.


Do not apply weight above 220.462 pounds upon this book or else you may cause the book broken and injure yourself.


Please to help sir, FoxConn factory is very big fence.
 
2012-10-29 09:30:42 AM

Teiritzamna: Actually, the application of First Sale in china is exactly what this is about. The relevant text of 17 U.S.C. 109 is as follows:

the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

Thus the issue is - if the product is made abroad and bought abroad, is it a copy "under this title?" (note if a product is made in the US, then sold abroad, first sale applies, see Quality King Distributors Inc., v. L'anza Research International Inc., 523 U.S. 135 (1998)). The whole point of the case is whether US law applies to products made and sold abroad.


Good analysis. The publishers are basically saying you don't "own" something purchased overseas once you bring it back to the U.S. Or at least you "own" less of it.

My UK version vinyl Beatles albums and I are siding with the re-seller.
 
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