The Right to Resell

Just one of the many stories to get overshadowed by #frankenstorm today is the opening arguments of Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley in the Supreme Court.  This case will test whether we (as in, citizens of the US) have the right to re-sell items which may contain copyrighted components that were originally sold overseas.  So, for instance, an iPad that contains copyrighted software, or even a house that contains parts with copyrighted text or designs on them.

Joe Mullin at Ars Technica is calling this the Intellectual Property case of the decade.

Marvin Ammori has a detailed writeup in the Atlantic from earlier this summer.

Demand Progress is launching a campaign today.

I’ve been getting slightly mixed reviews from legal folks I know regarding the importance of this.  Is it, as Joe suggests, the IP case of the decade, or will this just make some limited set of commercial transactions more difficult.  For those with the inclination, the 30 Amicus briefs filed on the case should make good reading.

The one thing I know is that it rubs me wrong that the content industry keeps trying to have their cake and eat it too re: ownership rights.  It’s all about owners rights when we’re talking about fighting piracy, but “it’s really just a lease” when consumers buy stuff.

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