Feeds

eBay frets as right to resell comes under scrutiny

US Supreme Court to examine first sale doctrine

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

eBay has launched a “grass roots” campaign to defend America’s first sale doctrine, as a Supreme Court hearing approaches that could subject second-hand and resale trades to the approval of rights-holders.

The online auctioneer is lobbying in defense of the first sale doctrine, and has launched “eBay Main Street” to mobilize its merchants.

The first sale doctrine – in essence, your right to sell your property – will be put under the spotlight in a case sparked by a student reselling textbooks bought outside the USA.

At issue is a decision by a lower court that as far as books are concerned, the doctrine only applies to copies made in America – a decision that forbids what Australians would recognize as parallel imports.

Rather than being confined to books, however, the Appeals Court ruling in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons soon to be examined by the Supreme Court covers all copyright works.

That’s raising concern far beyond the publishing industry: technology products, for example, contain copyright works in their software, raising fears that normal activities such as reselling technology products could become a nightmare of regulations.

The Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons case involved a complaint by the publisher that a Thai-born graduate studying in the USA, Supap Kirtsaeng, was buying textbooks overseas and selling them in America on eBay. John Wiley & Sons sued and won, with the Appeal Court limiting the first sale doctrine “specifically and exclusively” to works made in territories in which the US Copyright Act applies, not to “foreign-manufactured works”.

If that statement were upheld in the Supreme Court, it wouldn’t only affect the secondhand trade: Channelnomics articulates fears that the new doctrine would also be catastrophic for the conventional IT channel.

Amicus briefs are flying in all directions. Back in July, the Library Copyright Alliance filed a brief arguing that the Appeals Court finding puts the activities of lending libraries at risk. On the other side, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Software and Information Industry Association have both filed in favour of the Appeals Court finding. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.