Congressman Already Claims That He Needs To Overturn Supreme Court Ruling In Kirtsaeng

from the and-off-we-go dept

We fully expected efforts in Congress to look to overturn the strong and important “first sale” ruling by the Supreme Court, and it looks like they’re not wasting any time. Rep. Doug Collins has already put out a statement about how awful the ruling in Kirtsaeng is and how he’ll look to remedy it.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling in Kirtsaeng v. Wiley raises concerning questions about the future of U.S. copyright law,” Collins said. “Many industries and businesses in Georgia rely on strong copyright protections to create jobs and invest in our local economies, including the established and exclusive right to import in to the United States. When a U.S. business harnesses innovation and creativity to develop a product, they should have certainty their copyrighted work will be protected against unauthorized importation of foreign products.

“As a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I look forward to discussing the need for strong copyright protections with the Register of Copyrights at a subcommittee hearing tomorrow afternoon.”

No, actually, it doesn’t raise any serious questions. It confirms a basic principle that “you own what you’ve purchased.” It’s amazing that a Representative who claims that he wants government to get out of the way and and that “the private sector is best at generating economic growth” would suddenly pipe up in favor of centralized monopolies handed out by the federal government. Furthermore, it’s ridiculous, wrong and misleading to argue that Kirtsaeng is somehow antithetical to “strong copyright protections.” The first sale doctrine has existed in the US for ages and nothing in it goes against “strong copyright protections.” The Supreme Court decision standing up for first sale is hardly an attack on copyright. Even the claim about “being protected against unauthorized importation of foreign products.” That’s not a copyright issue, but an import issue. Here, again, Collins, who pretends to be for free trade, appears to be arguing that the US should have tariffs. It’s funny what copyright will do to politicians — including highlighting their own hypocrisies.

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Comments on “Congressman Already Claims That He Needs To Overturn Supreme Court Ruling In Kirtsaeng”

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Ninja (profile) says:

Can’t he see the tremendous collateral damage this would cause? Suppose Kirstaeng had lost. If I were [insert any company here] I’d simply move my production abroad and voil?, no more used market and major blows tho the US economy.

Sometimes I get this feeling your representatives actually want to break the country if it means they’ll make tons of money in the process. Wake up America, take these morons out of the Govt.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re:

This is a serious threat to our nation from within. Destroying us economically would result in far worse damage than occurred on 9/11. We’re talking massive layoffs, protests, looting, widespread violence and poverty, eventually culminating in massive civil war. All because of politicians like this guy who seek to destroy us from within.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No wonder he said this...


Georgia has to make up to foreigners for briefly throwing the CEO of a foreign car manufacturer in jail for not carrying his passport on him. The CEO who opened several car factories in Georgia no less, creating hundreds of jobs in the state, the CEO was in Georgia on a business trip to visit those factories.

What better way to make up for it then by giving him MORE reasons to manufacture his cars back in Europe where he came from by adding IP protections to foreign made goods?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No wonder he said this...

As a resident of Atlanta, I cringe every time one of our Senators, or Reps from outside of Atlanta opens their mouth. I believe they must be having a contest with the Texas Delegation on who can utter the stupidest, most ignorant thing possible.
With this statement, we may have taken back the lead.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Apparently, in Georgia, stupidity is a prerequisite for the job of congresman…

For further support of your argument, I believe it was Hank Johnson (D-GA) who was worried Guam (an island) would capsize if 5,000 Marines were moved from Okinawa (another island) to Guam.

However, I’d open up your argument in suggesting that it is all congresscritters, not just those from GA, who have a prerequisite for stupidity. In fact, I think it may be safe to say that it is a prerequisite for all public office.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The army officer (dunno what branch he is or what rank) must have been used to god-damn stupid comments like that because he responded fairly quickly after the capsize remark. If that had been me, I would have been stunned into silence, then asked for a clarification
“Sir…did you just say…an island, an ISLAND, would capsize?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Funny how the North never seems to understand the South.

The assumption that a Southern Republican has the same values as a Northern or western is as comical as assertion that a Southern Democrats during the days of Jim Crow had the same values as a Northern one did but, some how they did work together despite what the pundits say.

out_of_the_blue says:

Mike favors grifters over publishers.

This is NOT copyright, kids, it’s international trade, which IS properly a concern of Congress. — Wish they’d do more protectionism. — And it’s sheer arbitrage by a grifter who didn’t actually produce anything.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up at same place!
Where Mike “supports copyright” — except when he supports some clever way to get unearned income by dodging it.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

@Me: I disagree, though I am a huge fan of corporations with little to no foresight on the implications of their short term profiteering gags.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up at same place!
Where Mike “supports copyright” — except when he supports some clever way to get unearned income by dodging it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

“And it’s sheer arbitrage by a grifter who didn’t actually produce anything.”

Ok, now I’d like you (or anyone else) to explain to me why buying low and selling high is such a bad thing.

The guy is taking advantage of price differences in different markets. If I am not mistaken, that’s what’s been done in business since, like, forever.

Why is that, suddenly, grifting?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

It isn’t suddenly grifting buying low and selling high has always been grifting. Some grift is considered legitimate and some is punished by law. This is why people often struggle to see any important differences between legitimate businessmen and criminals as the only real difference in some cases is the acceptance of asserted legitimacy. Nonetheless if buying and selling is accepted as legitimate then there is no excuse to pretend to draw a distinction between Kirtsaeng and any other trader.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Mike favors grifters over publishers.

“I am fairly certain scalping tickets is considered illegal, at least in some states.”

Scalping is buying at market rate and selling for a vastly-inflated price due to scarcity.

Not the same as legally-buying below the established price and selling still BELOW the established price, as Kirtsaeng did), with scarcity NOT being an issue.
There were plenty of copies of the books available, just at a price students didn’t want to (or couldn’t) pay!
Try again, boy.

Beech says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mike favors grifters over publishers.

Huh? Scalping is buying something for a “lower price” than what you end up selling it for. Scarcity is a part of economics…like, most of economics (at least until the internets rolled around).

I wasn’t saying scalping was the same as what Kirstaeng did, because I don’t think it is. I was playing a game, a game called “provide the example” where YOU said “show an example of buying low…and selling at a profit is illegal.” I DID EXACTLY THAT.

Buy ticket at market value = legal
Sell at higher price = illegal

You didn’t say anything about “scarcity” or “being more than what (someone) wanted to pay” in your initial request for an example. So don’t blame me because YOU didn’t sufficiently narrow YOUR request for an example. Dumbass.

Beech says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Mike favors grifters over publishers.

From wikipedia:

“In the United States, ticket resale on the premises of the event (including adjacent parking lots that are officially part of the facility) may be prohibited by law, although these laws vary from state to state and the majority of U.S. states do not have laws in place to limit the value placed on the resale amount of event tickets or where and how these tickets should be sold. Ticket resellers may conduct business on nearby sidewalks, or advertise through newspaper ads or ticket brokers. Some U.S. states and venues encourage a designated area for resellers to stand in, on, or near the premises, while other states and venues prohibit ticket resale altogether. Resale laws, policies and practices are generally decided, practiced and governed at the local or even venue level in the U.S. and such laws and or interpretations are not currently generalized at a national level.”

So, scalping is kinda sorta sometimes illegal depending on what state you’re in. Good to know. (Couldn’t look it up at work and I wasn’t totally sure, that’s why I used all those hedging words “fairly certain,” “at least in some states.”)

And, I am aware that insider trading should certainly be illegal. But that’s not what Mr. AC-that-says-boy-far-too-often asked for. The only thing he asked for was an example of buying low/selling high that is illegal. Not where buying low/selling high SHOULD be illegal, or rightfully is illegal, or only “legitimate market transactions” where it’s illegal. So based on the criteria dude gave, insider trading qualifies.

I’ll agree with you that I don’t get a point for scalping, but I’m gonna stick with my guns and give myself a point for insider trading, so I’m 1-1.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Mike favors grifters over publishers.

Sheesh, that’s pretty much the point the difference between criminality and legitimate business is fundamentally the assertion and acceptance of legality.
If a law is passed to prevent a trade it doesn’t change the fundamental morality or lack of morality inherent in business.
Many people became immensely wealthy engaging in legal business activities that were subsequently made illegal, they were at all times legitimate business people.
But what you want is an example of a legal activity that was, at the time it was legal,illegal and expect that people might struggle to give you such an example. Well duh!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

Your statement is wrong because if Mike would have favoured the “grifters” as you put it, he would’ve been in favour of Wiley.

If you’d have more experience in international trade than only staring at the foreign stock listings in the WSJ, you would know that it is actually illegal to put restrictions on products you’ve sold. It is fully legal for companies to make use of price differences in different countries, just as it is legal to have different price levels.

If I told my boss I was trying to prevent our customers in country X from selling to county Y (or messing with their prices to make it less attractive for them) he would fire me on the spot because it is against the law and a guaranteed way to end up in court.

Then again, I work for a company that tries to be ethical and transparent in it’s approach to the market. Perhaps you should try working for one too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

That depends, did you sell it for more than it was worth to you. A standard most would consider unreasonable but not completely invalid
How about did you sell it for more than it was worth to the purchaser.
You could argue here that the purchaser with perfect knowledge is in the best position to determine what its worth to them but does that require you to try to inform the purchaser of every relevant piece of information.
What if the law doesn’t require you to make certain information you have available to the purchaser but you know it would affect the price the purchaser is willing to pay.
Knowing that most people do sell, especially second hand vehicles for as much as they possibly can while doing their best to hide or minimise any issues chances are anyone selling their second hand vehicle will be a grifter but it is possible that you specifically are not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

OOTB picked up a new word, from whren I defines it yesterday. However he does not understand that arbitrage is not grifting. As for non production, most publishers produce nothing as the contract out the actual work of printing and distribution. They also rely on the work of others for content. Publishers are the grifters when it comes to textbooks.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Mike favors grifters over publishers.

Yes, it is arbitrage. Why is that a bad thing?

This looks like a win-win situation to me. Kirtsaeng gets some money in his pocket, the students he was selling to save some money on the monstrously exorbitant costs of textbooks, and the parasites lose out on an opportunity for ill-gotten gain. Everyone’s happy.

…except the parasites, of course.

gorehound (profile) says:

Rep. Doug Collins another Republican who is Supposed to Stand for Liberty,Freedom From Government, and Less Regulations/Smaller Government show just how much of a Hypocrite he is.As well as being another Clueless Bought Already Politician.

I Buy Something I Fucking Own It A-Hole ! And if not then I intend on stopping my Buying of all things I can find elsewhere for Free.Or I will just enjoy the huge Library and huge Documentary Films I own.

I hate these Clueless Moronic Politicians.Probably got himself a Vote because he said Jesus in a Speech, Dislikes LGBT, and is a Southern Far Right Conservative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Chris Dod is an industry representative, it’s not hypocritical for him to represent the industry. It’s his job and it’s to be expected and is consistent with his position of industry representative.

Congressmen, OTOH, are supposed to represent the public and so when they seek to represent corporate interests instead that’s different.

trish says:


do we really need copuright on ‘art’ that consists entirely of a logo placed on a product for the sole purpose of getting copyright coverage? That;s just hilarious, til you realize that the government wants to take away the people’s rights and hand them to corporations… Next we’ll hear about people goin to jail for a long time for importing goods they legally purchased…

Beech says:

The amazing thing is the speed with which this politician’s opinion was purchased. Only a day? To convince a highly placed lawmaker first sale rights are bad when a border is involved? Money talks I suppose.

My favorite part is the rhetoric about Georgia relying on copyright etc. This case is exclusively about made in places OTHER THAN Georgia! It’s helping businesses STAY in country(/ Georgia) where they are rather than moving overseas to avoid a used market! The critical thinking parts of his brain must have been overloaded by trying to comprehend all the 0s on his “campaign donation” check.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

I’ve said it before and it remains true. Ask any one, be it economist, politicians, businessman, or layman, and they will tell you that monopolies are bad for the economy, for consumers, and for the free market. Change the word to copyright or patent and suddenly a lot of them will trip over themselves telling you how awesome and necessary they are, and how they are foundational properties of a free market.

Derek (profile) says:


IN an attempt to bring this conversation back on topic – what impact does this have on the Costco/Casio decision a while back? IIRC Casio sued Costco for selling watches that were meant ( & priced) for the European market. Casio claimed (and won) that Costco was infringing because of a small logo on the udnerside of the watch.

Not sure any more if that was Copyright or Trademark but I thought it applied here.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Costco

Well, prior to this (back in november) the lower courts ruled that the use of a logo was copyright misuse, i.e. that using the copyright of the logo to restrict the movement of the watch was outside of the bounds of the copyright assigned to the logo. Given that the logo was , by the companies own admission, only placed on the watch to restrict the movement of the watch, the court ruled against the watch manufacturer. I dont think it was Casio though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sadly that’s why Republicans have become now, and I could tell he was a Republican from the headline. They keep paying lip service to “freedom from government interference”, but in reality the vast majority of Republicans are just pro-corporations these days – INCLUDING getting the government to support those corporations, either through lower taxes, subsidies or some kind of legal monopolies.

Special interest groups says:

Pile of cash

Well of course the Congressman would say this. Just like all US politicians, he is elected to serve his corporate interests first, then himself second, then his constituents somewhere around 10th in line. Follow the money trail back to the Congressman and you’ll understand why they vote the way they do – they’ve been legally bribed.

Anonymous Coward says:

You may contact him here

Everyone should make it clear that he will lose his job if he continues his support for copy’right’ and that we should make the rest of his life miserable if he gets a revolving door job afterwords. In fact, getting a revolving door after supporting IP laws should be illegal and subject to punishment far worse than infringement. This is an outrage that this revolving door problem goes unpunished while doing nothing wrong, like infringement, is subject to huge punishments.

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