Skip to comments.Supreme Court issues major copyright ruling on foreign sales
Posted on 03/19/2013 9:28:39 AM PDT by tobyhillEdited on 03/19/2013 9:29:28 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
The Supreme Court, in a major ruling on copyright law, has given foreign buyers of textbooks, movies and other products a right to resell them in the United States without the permission of the copyright owner. The 6-3 decision is a victory for a former USC student from Thailand, Supap Kirtsaeng, who figured he could earn money by buying textbooks at lower costs in his native country and selling them in the United States.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Then what about meds??? What say you to that USSC?
Exactly my thought - pharmaceuticals.
that is next.
The textbook publishing companies with their ridiculous overpricing brought this upon themselves.
sounds like the right decision
Happens every day. Many used/new bookstores around my town. Do you think they send their profit to the writer??
I don’t see how they can ban anything from this, they have established the precedent.
Now if he copied the books and then sold them, that would be a whole different matter and a copyright violation.
What if the company that bought the books gave him permission to copy the books?
...uh. Maybe it is time to start over in this great experiment. Time to find the tea, a nice harbor, and a few like-minded RE-Patriots?
Copyright holders would love it if they could forbid you to sell a used DVD on eBay, which is where we would be heading if the ruling would have gone the other way.
Buying full price over there and providing the copyright-owner with the profit they agreed to. Now let's get that same Opinion for medications that are identical to the FDA formularies.
Interesting split - Kennedy, Ginsberg, and Scalia dissented.
This might be a blow to the charging what the market will bear strategy. Sell high in the US and other higher income nations and sell low in lower income nations. That’s how companies maximize profits by seeking the greatest volume of sales.
Since this involves RE-sale only, it’s probably a reasonable ruling as long as some don’t start importing lower priced copyrighted items on a massive scale. Then the companies would have to solve the problem by raising pricing in the lower income nation.
“If it is USIP and proven to be USIP, then the IP owner or his agents decide if it can be sold or if royalties are required”
Yeah, they already decided it could be sold when they sold him the textbooks in the first place. They can’t put additional restrictions saying that it can’t be resold after that. That was settled long ago when the music companies tried to stop people from reselling used CDs.
The sad part is we all paid some dork in DC $100,000+ per annum to come up with this lame trademark.
They’re doing a bang-up job with .eu and .bz domains, eh?
Not under copyright law.
Half Price Books would go out of business if the opponents of this ruling had their way.
The way I read it is that the first owner can do whatever he wants with it, even give it away if that’s his desire.
I never expected this ruling - and am so glad to see it. This means that you own what you buy, and are free to resell it. Copyright holders are free to charge whatever they want, wherever they want, but only for the first sale of an item, and can’t prevent resale.
Amazing! Standing up for property rights of the individual purchaser/owner over the greed of the company that already made what they wanted to charge.
That’s true. But the guy in this case was buying books in Thailand and reselling in the US for a profit. If he’s buying only a few no one will notice. What if thousands of foreign students start buying dozens or hundreds of textbooks each in their native country and resell them in the US?
Then the campus book stores notice the sales decreases. It’s another one of those things where if a very few do it no one notices. If it becomes large scale many will notice, including the book printer/copyright owner who sets the prices in all the countries involved.
This should have implications for the phone-unlocking issue.
Several things the articles doesn’t address, and maybe the court case didn’t address.
How many books can a foreign student bring into the US and resell without some sort of import license?
And how many can he sell at a given college without acquiring a business license?
Not enough information to know whether the guy was bringing in a few books, or enough to be considered an importer and then a retailer in the US.
But that’s not the ‘distribution channel’ the copyright owner planned on, and if it became too significant they’d have to make changes or lose significant profit.
Why “holy crap”? This is just an extension of “first use” policy which has been part of common law and statutory law for many years when it came to the reselling of copyrighted materials produced, bought and sold in the U.S.
The consequences if this case had been found in favor of the plaintiff would have been very far reaching and costly to consumers. Do some research on the case.
I think what the dissenting judges are saying is that there is no way of determining “lawfully made”.
This is a positive ruling.
Think about it...
First, it supports property rights.
Second, this removes the incentive for businesses to make most of their profits off of American customers. Businesses are now going to charge the entire world the same price rather than sticking it to Americans.
Expect prices of such items to drop somewhat.
Another win for personal freedom, the real story is that 3 voted against it. would you like to have to pay a copyright fee to sell a used car or have to pay copyright fees on your garage sale items your selling.
The concept of personal property should always be upheld in the USA.
You are somewhat lacking in legal knowledge. This ruling does not allow the copying of any copyrighted material, current copyright law still applies. You can not copy a DVD you do not own even if it is for your own use.
What this ruling means is if a US citizen buys a work that has been published overseas the same “first use” policy pertains to that foreign published work as it does to a domestic published work. The publisher does not have a right to prohibit the resale of that work.
Joe Blow gave me his copy that he made after he legally downloaded it off the internet.
Your writing about patent law not copyright law.
If the free market is allowed to operate freely, then the campus book store will start getting its books from the foreign sources directly.
Then the bookseller will lower domestic prices and raise foreign prices to maximumize their own profits, in accordance with supply vs. demand economics.
Once domestic prices from the bookseller have dropped sufficiently, the campus book store will once again get its books from a domestic source, with the effect that Americans will pay less and foreigners will pay more.
I don’t see why it is our SCOTUS place to figure out why foreign countries can not get a better handle on the problem of goods that are unlawfully made on their own soil.
The fact that the DVD someone bought in Hong Kong might be a pirated copy is a red herring. There was never any question that the textbooks were indeed lawfully made.
If concerns about pirated goods are to take precedence over first use rights then the resale of any copyrighted or trademarked work whether produced domestically or not should be prohibited.
Is it still legal to copy a CD? The same fair use doctrine allows consumers to copy their music disks to computers and other devices. Because CDs don't have anything to protect them from being copied, it's also legal to distribute software for “ripping” them to a PC’s hard drive. The ripping software doesn't have to circumvent any anticopy protections.”
Now prove I didn't own it and didn't have the legal right to sell it.
And this case highlights the fact that US compannies (with or without copyright involvement) sell the same product much cheaper in many foreign nations than in the US. Again, it’s pricing at what the market will bear. If they didn’t do that, they’d sell little in many poorer nations. But US consumers are definitely subsizing those lower priced foreign sales. Probably nothing to be done about that.
But I’m with the dissenters when it comes to importing into the US and reselling. At some point people doing that are definitely in the import business and then also in the retail business in the US. I’m sure there’s a business solution to the problem if it becomes too large.
Microsoft has a pretty good way of protecting copyrighted material. Companies are going to have to use technology to protect its copyrights.
And I’m not sure how this ruling changes the ability of law enforcement to enforce copyright protections. It was poor before, and it’s still poor. “Joe Blow gave me his copy that he made after he legally downloaded it off the internet” was an illegal, but unenforcable, transaction before the ruling - and it still is.
No one will ever be able to prove if a copy was pirated or not.
What if someone legally downloads an MP3 at 99 cents a song and then resells it for 10 cents a song? Is that legal?
No they didn’t, and no they can’t.
Read the opinion.
I predict down the road during a political campaign they will magically come up with information that a candidate illegally downloaded something in their past.
Yes they did and this is the courts opinion.
What it changes is bearing of proof. Before law enforcement could prosecute based on just having an illegal copy but now they have to prove that the copy is illegal.
Internationally, the free market is not allowed to operate and it never will be. Too many local interests that are and often should be protected.
The copyright holder in this case will probably work something out with its foreign distributors restricting who they can sell to, or how many copies can be purchased by individuals not in the book business in that nation. Unless it's really a large scale problem, they probably wouldn't change pricing in the foreign counry.
The information in this case doesn't tell us how large scale this was. The copyright holder might have just been trying to nip something in the bud.
Indeed. But the issue that the dissent raises, which is a valid one, is that the textbooks were not lawfully made under the Copyright Act. And they were not lawfully made under the Copyright Act because the Copyright Act does not apply in foreign countries. How can a work be lawfully made under the Copyright Act when it is not subject to the Copyright Act?