Speak Out Against Copyright Holders Destroying True Property Rights
from the can-you-resell-your-stuff? dept
This is nonsensical for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is about to hear the latest such case, after ending up with a split court the last time around. The reason it was split was because Justice Kagan recused herself, due to being involved in the case prior to becoming a Justice. Her involvement? Penning the filing of the US government against first sale rights. So it's very possible that she'll continue to retain that viewpoint on the court and basically kill off your ability to resell any good manufactured outside the US without permission. This is scary stuff.
While the issue is before the court, it's still important to get people to speak out about this. A few public interest groups have put together a petition site called You've Been Owned: Don't Let Copyright Trolls Steal Our Property Rights! and Citizens for Ownership Rights. The goal is to get the Obama administration to actually recommend preserving first sale rights (contrary to its earlier position). And, failing that, get Congress to change the laws to fix this problem which will drive many American manufacturers to move overseas. This is, of course, part of the real problem: the language of the statute is awkward in a way that lets the court come to a completely nonsensical and contradictory result.
What's important to recognize is that, for all the talk by copyright maximalists to falsely claim that copyright is no different than real property, and to insist we must "defend property rights" for copyright, here's a true case of property rights being under attack -- and it's because of an overly aggressive use of copyright. The idea that you don't actually own what you bought is an anathema to true property rights. That companies may be able to use copyright law to block you from selling used goods is a massive encroachment on individuals' property rights. If all those copyright maximalists truly believed in property rights (rather than the truth: that they support a government granted monopoly privilege that benefits themselves) they, too, would support this effort against the demolition of first sale rights.