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Defending the First Sale Doctrine

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the by-reading-this-you-agree-not-to-sell-it dept.

Electronic Frontier Foundation 338

The Electronic Frontier Foundation recaps two court cases pending in the U.S. which will decide whether you're allowed to re-sell the things you purchase. The first case deals with items bought in other countries for resale in the U.S., such as textbooks. An unfavorable decision there would mean "anything that is made in a foreign country and contains copies of copyrighted material – from the textbooks at issue in the Kirtsaeng case to shampoo bottles with copyrighted labels – could be blocked from resale, lending, or gifting without the permission of the copyright owner. That would create a nightmare for consumers and businesses, upending used goods markets and undermining what it really means to 'buy' and 'own' physical goods. The ruling also creates a perverse incentive for U.S. businesses to move their manufacturing operations abroad. It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended." The second case is about whether music purchased on services like iTunes can be resold to other people. "Not only does big content deny that first sale doctrine applies to digital goods, but they are also trying to undermine the first sale rights we do have by forcing users to license items they would rather buy. The copyright industry wants you to "license" all your music, your movies, your games — and lose your rights to sell them or modify them as you see fit."

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Censored: "secondary market" (4, Informative)

spamchang (302052) | about 2 years ago | (#42391499)

I guess this applies to used cars as well. Secondary markets alleviate economic inefficiencies in pricing...goodbye free market?

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (5, Informative)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#42391857)

Could we do to copyright what companies do to avoid paying real estate tax in California? In CA, properties aren't reassessed for tax purposes unless they are sold. So companies don't sell real estate, they sell a shell company that technically owns the property. The property never actually changes ownership, so the taxes remain based on its valuation from 1982 or whatever. So we just need a free way to set up a corporation. Have your corporation buy an mp3 or a movie. When you're done with it, sell the corporation for $3. Problem solved.

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42391947)

If that became popular the media companies would just add a term that the license is for use by a natural person and not valid for a corporation, if they don't already say that.

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (1)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#42392005)

If that became popular the media companies would just add a term that the license is for use by a natural person and not valid for a corporation, if they don't already say that.

So the corporation would have to be formed in a country that recognizes corporations as people ... j/k. It would still work well for software: business application licenses are meant to be owned by one company and used by one person (at a time).

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 years ago | (#42392285)

Not really a joke, here in the US we already recongize the corp as a person, see the citizens united case.

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392129)

Then they'll come after you for commercial performance fees...

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392173)

Corporations are people too, my friend!

There's a business plan! (4, Funny)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 years ago | (#42392201)

1.) Spend a few hundred $ setting up a corporation.
2.) Buy an .mp3 under the auspices of said corporation.
3.) Sell the corporation and rights to the .mp3 for $3
4.) ???
5.) PROFIT!

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 2 years ago | (#42392205)

The filing fees to create a company are probably a lot more than $3.

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#42392295)

And an individual will probably buy more than one song in their lifetime.

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 2 years ago | (#42392211)

I guess this applies to *new* books as well: Amazon buys a book from the publisher. You buy it from Amazon. Isn't that the second sale? Why is Amazon allowed to resell what they buy, but you are not??

Re:Censored: "secondary market" (3, Informative)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 years ago | (#42392483)

1) Amazon has a special license from the publisher to distribute.
2)Amazon doesn't buy anything from the publishers--books are sold essentially on consignment.

So copyright is not just who can copy? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#42391517)

This is something that gets to the heart of what copyright is being turned into.

Initially, copyright is what the name says it is -- the [exclusive] right to make copies for distribution.

But as we have seen with things like "region coding" and the like, we are seeing attempts at controlling not just who can legally make copies, but who can legally have access to it. Information for one region cannot be legal in another region. In some circles, we call this censorship. In others, we call these trade barriers.

Big media:

Go ahead and do your worst. Branding like "DRM Free" and "Independent" have become the new "Organic" and industry labels have become the new "Toxic." Your disrespect of your customers/consumers is increasingly more recognized. Artists all over the world, using home computers and even iPads are creating content which is fun and entertaining. Small projects are becoming bigger projects and they don't involve you. So please. Enlighten the rest of the world by restricting them from having free access to your stuff and the new Organic entertainment out there will replace you.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (5, Interesting)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42391639)

What you say is true to a degree. Electronic music in particular has become so incredibly inexpensive to make that almost anyone who has a desire to make it can easily afford to do so. However, there is a place for big art too, and nobody is going to make The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in their basement.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (5, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#42391707)

There is no reason why actors need millions of dollars for their tradeskills. Perhaps the market just doesn't support that anymore.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391779)

Clearly it does.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (4, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#42392003)

Look at the trailer for any modern film. There are literally hundreds of people given credit for the film. There were thousands of computers and tens of thousands of computer hours. Professional digital cameras are anything but inexpensive, even if you rent them.

Yes, the budgets are inflated but a major movie costs real dollars.

(Although Monsters is an interesting example of what can be done on a low budget. But it's not LOTR.)

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392303)

Actors aren't paid "millions of dollars" for their skills. They are paid for their names. Generally a "Tom Cruise" movie is going to bring in a lot more people to see it than an unknown actor. Tom gets to charge his rates based, quite a bit, on _that_.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#42391889)

nobody is going to make The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in their basement.

15 years ago my band laughed at me when I suggested we record an album by renting a single, very expensive, microphone, and then recording with my computer and layering each track individually saving us nearly 10k. Now, any decent band has their own recording studio that pretty much revolves around a single PC. The recording industry exists at this point for the sole purpose of promotion and that will be gone soon as well. 15 years ago recording a studio quality album in your basement was laughable, and now it's how things are done. The same will happen with video, and as much as the movie industry will kick and scream... they will die. This is the free market, old, inefficient methods of productions, with all it's corporate leaches and middlemen always get traded for more direct methods of production. Eventually the people with the ideas can produce their product directly, and no longer need help. There is no such thing as "Big art", music producers were nothing more than financiers, loaning musicians money with horrendous terms. The same goes for movies and eventually it will be so cheap to produce a movie that the anal rape that movie producers have to go through to get their movie made will be a thing of the past.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42392083)

The same goes for movies and eventually it will be so cheap to produce a movie that the anal rape that movie producers have to go through to get their movie made will be a thing of the past.

What about if it's a porn flick staring yourself?

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42391927)

However, there is a place for big art too, and nobody is going to make The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in their basement.

If everybody who could stop paying for it would stop paying for it, then the piracy rate would be 99%+. To be honest I don't think there's anybody growing up here in Norway today who can't figure out how to use a torrent client unless they're mentally handicapped, the practical risk of getting caught is nil and even if you were the fine wouldn't be the end of the world. Are we seeing a mass death of entertainment artists? No. I have bought the DVD and later the BluRay set of LotR - I've also downloaded them online. One hardly excludes the other...

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392041)

Actually, amazingly enough, they can. I was shocked, but look at the finnish startrek clone. (starblech? starwreck? I don't remember, but the effects were like the ones from the normal movies...)

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 2 years ago | (#42392065)

nobody is going to make The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in their basement.

Can we really be sure?

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (2)

greenbird (859670) | about 2 years ago | (#42392101)

nobody is going to make The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in their basement.

Monsters [slashfilm.com] was made for $15,000. Watch it. It's quite good. Most of the cost for big budget movies is payed to people who aren't really necessary for making the movie and/or are way over payed for what they contribute.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392405)

10 years ago I would agree with you, but these days I don't agree at all. Just look at youtube, a lot of highly talented people collaborating to create high quality video that rivals Hollywood work in production quality. Majority of them are doing it not because they want to make money, but because they enjoy it, which I suspect is why their work comes out to be so high quality with consumer level electronics.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391759)

Re: "Region Coding"

For DVDs and games, this is horrible because you pay the same price and get region locked.

But consider the case of physical books. Many publishers have set up operations in India and other countries to reprint technical books at a cheaper price. They make books available at around a tenth of the price they would cost in the US (because the market here can only afford that much). Of course, these aren't multi-color prints on glossy paper but the contents are the same. The book has a marking (For sale only in ). This is the only way the publisher can make money while still differentiating pricing for the local market and not killing their home market. If you move, the books can move as well. They are not region locked for consumption, only for purchase and resale.

This business model is now broken, because one guy decided to import books wholesale and resell them in another market.

EBay doesn't care if the publisher goes out of business because they aren't publishers. They are sellers. They make commission on every sale, that's why they want more sales. And that's why they are fighting for no exclusions on what can be sold.

The law might be unclear, but the present situation. IMHO, looks better than what we're going to have.

We don't need new textbooks each year or sooner (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42391929)

We don't need new textbooks each year or sooner for most topics and other stuff like some parts of tech books need more online stuff as tech moves fast and on line can be updated faster.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (2)

jimmydevice (699057) | about 2 years ago | (#42392469)

And the product of this discount is a flood of cheap BS and MS grads that the USA native population cannot compete with when faced with H1B importation and hiring.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (0, Flamebait)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | about 2 years ago | (#42391835)

Eh, that analogy only works if "Organic" strikes you as a good thing. To me it says overpriced, bug-ridden, hippie/hipster-fodder. Putting "Organic" on it ensures that I will not purchase it if there is another option.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (1, Flamebait)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#42392077)

To me it says overpriced, bug-ridden, hippie/hipster-fodder. Putting "Organic" on it ensures that I will not purchase it if there is another option.

So I've been meaning to ask, how's that whole "moron" thing working out for you?

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (1)

giorgist (1208992) | about 2 years ago | (#42391973)

I hope they get all they want :-) Their products will get revalued and in the end they will get nothing extra. In the process they are trying to undo all that is the internet. It is a big ask :-) They are merely in a stage of denial. Even if they get all they want, it is unstable and it will be restored

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392075)

We don't take advice from blackmailers like you http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2261720&cid=36545928 [slashdot.org] fatass.

Re:So copyright is not just who can copy? (3, Interesting)

Jessified (1150003) | about 2 years ago | (#42392505)

They call it intellectual property, not intellectual licenses. They also say that downloading is stealing (of property?)

But how does one steal a license?

If depriving someone of income is a crime, then so should negative reviews on yelp?

I'm terribly confused. I think it would be more relaxing to teach evolution to a creationist.

Tags sum it up (5, Funny)

KRL (664739) | about 2 years ago | (#42391545)

I read the tags: eff yro copyright as: Fuck your copyright.

This is... (5, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#42391547)

... the logical conclusion to the perpetual copyright dilema. You no longer 'own' anything, not even your own genome. You merely 'license' it for a time, with the license revokable at any time by the 'true copyright holder'.

And they wonder why there are Pirate Partys in most of the 'free world' these days. Perpetual copyright is evil, it locks away ideas that could have been used to make future ideas as an amalgam of current ideas.

Re:This is... (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#42391585)

That's part why I like buying physical media. I get looked at as quaint, but my CD collection can't really have its license revoked and I don't lose everything if a hard disk crashes. Same reason I have a lot of DVDs, though the more active nature of Blu-ray does have me concerned. All of these issues with subscription services just reinforce the need for my own media.

Re:This is... (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42391863)

Meh, my collection of DRM-free (either self-ripped or torrented) can't have it's license revoked, and it'd take 3 harddrive failures for me to lose it all. Plus, if I did through some catastrophe (say, a housefire, which would also destroy your physical collection), re-torrenting is trivial.

DRM is only a problem if you're willing to play their game.

Re:This is... (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 2 years ago | (#42392047)

Plus, if I did through some catastrophe (say, a housefire, which would also destroy your physical collection), re-torrenting is trivial.

If you don't mind 600x400 resolution with low bitrate MP3 audio, then you can find most everything, but if DVD quality is the worst you'll accept, then it's actually quite hard to find active torrents of older content, unless it's insanely popular (or at least very popular among computer geeks).

If you want HD, then it's even tougher, even with some content that is still actively for sale. Also, I have noticed that torrents seem to follow basic economics...once the original source is cheap enough, the torrent tends to become unseeded.

Re:This is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392247)

Find yourself a decent private tracker

Torrents 79,136
Total Size of Torrents 456.70 TB

Personally I feel I've found some rather extremely obscure stuff on TPB, honestly the only thing I couldn't find recently was an album because between Spotify, iTunes, Amazon MP3 etc. it looks like nobody bothers to pirate that anymore.

Re:This is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392113)

though the more active nature of Blu-ray does have me concerned.

Rip'em [makemkv.com] . Cost $50 for a license but well worth it.

Re:This is... (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 years ago | (#42392307)

Actually it can. When you buy a CD technically you only own the physical medium and only license the music, and as we all know here the AAs are not above raiding peoples homes to get back control

Inheritance (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | about 2 years ago | (#42391605)

This also bears on inheritance. Someone with a music collection dies and their heirs cannot inherit that music collection because when Big Media gets ahold of the laws like this, their heirs have no legal right to the media

Re:Inheritance (0, Redundant)

ZorroXXX (610877) | about 2 years ago | (#42391695)

Precisely Bruce Willi's point when he wants to leave his music collection to his daughters (computerworld, cnn [cnn.com] dailymail [dailymail.co.uk] yahoo [yahoo.com] ).

Get real! (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#42391549)

It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended.

Congress intends to deliver whatever the hell their biggest campaign contributors want them to do. This is why we already have perpetual copyright in effect.

-jcr

Re:Get real! (-1)

Alomex (148003) | about 2 years ago | (#42391633)

There is an easy fix for this: donate money yourself. Usually the amounts donatd by corporations are piddling---oil companies and the NRA excepted. A few concerned citizens donating money can easily outmatch the oligarchs spending power. Don't believe me? Just have a look at the last election where Obama whipped Mitt-and-the-1%ers collective behind.

Re:Get real! (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42391671)

Mitt didn't have the 1%. Mitt had the 10%-2%, which is more or less the stereotypical suburban Republicans - married with kids, upper middle class. Wall Street was a lot more on the side of Obama.

Re:Get real! (3, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | about 2 years ago | (#42391711)

You are wrong. Check the data. Wall Street was for Obama in 2008 but in 2012 it definitely backed Mitt.

Moreover the 10-2% which lives majoritarily in NY, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington state was for Obama.

Mitt got the backing, of the 1% (no surprises there) and the surprisingly enough form the welfare and pork-barrel receiving poor white people from the Red States. Again check the data, is all out there.

Re:Get real! (4, Informative)

genkernel (1761338) | about 2 years ago | (#42392071)

Not entirely true. Wall street did back Romney much more than Obama, but Obama was also primarily supported by the 1%, just not to the extent that Mitt was. A quick search shows that large tech firms (M$, Apple, Google), the MPIAA firms (Disney, Time Warner, etc.), and various finance firms (many were also top Romney supporters) among Obama's top supporters.

Re:Get real! (1)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#42392009)

It makes no difference which of the Ruling Party goons got elected. They were utterly interchangeable. If you don't believe it, look up who they got their campaign money from.

-jcr

Re:Get real! (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#42392447)

Not quite. I tend to agree that the major party candidates for just about any race are bought and paid for by the same people, but they do wrap themselves in different rhetoric. So while the laws that directly impact the major powers will probably get passed either way, who gets elected can have a dramatic effect on a lot of the "window dressing" like abortion laws, drug laws, etc. that don't really have any effect on the wealthy but can dramatically affect the lives of the rest of us.

Re:Get real! (2)

Phrogman (80473) | about 2 years ago | (#42391701)

When copyright is up for debate there will be no shortage of money from Big Media, I am sure they can cough up billions if required to ensure they maintain perpetual control over Mikey Mouse or other key properties.
Imagine when the copyright on Star Wars runs out - you think it won't get extended forever?

Re:Get real! (1)

Alomex (148003) | about 2 years ago | (#42391723)

Imagine when the copyright on Star Wars runs out - you think it won't get extended forever?

While it is true the industry has deep pockets, you are wrong about the conclusion. Otherwise SOPA would not have died in congress.

Re:Get real! (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#42391939)


Imagine when the copyright on Star Wars runs out - you think it won't get extended forever?

It won't run out. Copyright will be extended much sooner than that... like whenver Steamboat Willy is about to go into the public domain.

Re:Get real! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392045)

I'll be 83 years old when ANH enters the public domain, if copyright isn't retroactively extended between now and 2072. The original theatrical version that is.

I'm a 23 year old fan. I've been a fan since I first saw it when I was six. I'll be either dead, a geriatric fucker on life support, or a cyborg by the time a movie made 12 years before I was born goes into the public domain and becomes legal to do anything you want with. That seems like a cultural injustice to me.

Eventually copyright will last so long that paleontologists tens of thousands of years from now won't be allowed to make copies of our art. Does that sound good for anyone. By the time a cultural icon like Star Wars goes into the public domain, nearly all but the very youngest of those who saw it for the first times in theaters will be either dead, or senile.

Re:Get real! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391979)

This was modded down, but it is true. I've worked for campaigns and one is equally surprised by how often do politicians sell out as by how little it takes them to have them in your pocket. Your average city councilor can be had for a few K campaign donation, your local state rep for a few tens of thousands, and your state rep for around 100K if that much.

Re:Get real! (-1)

greenbird (859670) | about 2 years ago | (#42392153)

Just have a look at the last election where Obama whipped Mitt-and-the-1%ers collective behind.

If you really think Obama isn't beholden to 1%ers and massive corporate interests [opensecrets.org] you are a complete idiot. He got as much of his funds from 1%ers as Romney did.

Re:Get real! (1)

DaveJ45 (685257) | about 2 years ago | (#42391831)

It's no secret that the politicians here in the U.S. are the best that money can buy.... Now if the citizens that voted them into office could only figure out a way to get legislation passed that forces them to represent the interests of their constituents, instead of serving the interests of their campaign contributors in order to take advantage of their constituents, we'd be making some much needed progress towards what the original 'Congress' intended.

Re:Get real! (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | about 2 years ago | (#42392331)

It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended.

Congress intends to deliver whatever the hell their biggest campaign contributors want them to do. This is why we already have perpetual copyright in effect.

-jcr

Well that's one way of looking at it for the "government is out to get us" crowd, another is that the U.S. Congress sometimes intends to protect Unites States assets from those almost mythical "not-the-United-States" places out there that the former crowd seem to be oblivious to.

I'm not for or against protectionist policies in general, but all this "big X and the gub'mint are conspiring against us" blather that paints things as "X got what they wanted therefore it's BAD FOR US", that's just really stupid reasoning.

As a non-American... (1, Troll)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42391565)

Really, I'm tired of all this crap. Go ahead. Do it. Kill your own economy, fight your own consumers and destroy yourself in an orgy of self-cannibilism.

As a non-American, I almost hope your courts make this stupid decision. Having an economic black-hole of IP-sucking nothingness floating where the United States used to be would be a great object lesson for our countries in not doing the same thing. It seems like logic isn't working, so maybe the object lesson is inevitable.

Re:As a non-American... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391691)

Sad thing is the US offers this carrot of "Free trade" to other countries who are unfortunately too keen to sign up with all the negotiations held behind closed doors.

Free trade it turns out means big business is free to do what it like, and is free to impose copyright and patent top stop the populace from trading freely and importing goods from other countries.

Wonder if free trade will also include the insistence that we all carry guns too so our kids can be shot in schools

Re:As a non-American... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392011)

"Wonder if free trade will also include the insistence that we all carry guns too so our kids can be shot in schools"

You were doing so well, then this. If everyone had been carrying a gun, all of those shooters would have been much less effective, as they would have been stopped much sooner.

Well.. (2)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#42391583)

"The first case deals with items bought in other countries for resale in the U.S"

That will lead to everything having a foreign copyright or being made overseas so that it can not be resold in the US where the consumer has the least rights and the corporation has the most rights (See Citizens United for an example)

"The second case is about whether music purchased on services like iTunes can be resold to other people."

If "Big Media" could they would force you to stream everything and to pay for that, you would never be allowed a personal copy, you would always be required to go to the source, so far the medium they used hasn't allowed that sort of control, but that is the goal.
They would also like you to store all your digital media in the cloud so they can tie in all your taste under one data set with your name on it, or more likely tied to your Facebook login.
After all Facebook is trying to be the primary data store for all its "users" (read: users = data sets with little to no rights)

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391721)

Or the court could side with the defendant or the court could side with the plaintiff but further elaborate in its opinion that first sale applies in person to person transactions but not for importers transporting large quantities of goods.

Chill out. The world didn't end and I don't think it will end tomorrow either.

Wake up.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391627)

It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended

and smell the Communism.

It's difficult to see how this outcome was not intended. "I just created a new contract that says that I own your stuff because I have the copyright, so don't go buying anything I have copyrighted as it's worth nothing."

A house gets robbed, the outcome is to steal.

The more power you give government.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391641)

The more it will be abused.

And taxes are the life blood of the beast.

Sooo, how many of you who are aghast that Big Content is going to collude with Big Government to try and take away your rights under the first sale doctrine think it's a great idea to "tax the rich"?

Expect two losses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391647)

In the first case, Congress has the power to regulate imports. Ownership is irrelevant.

The second case depends on whether the software is bought or licensed. There is plenty of precedent that software is licensed, not bought. That precedent is a large barrier to overcome. With iTunes, you probably agree that you do not buy and you do not own any of the songs long before you download them.

Don't expect a win for the good guys in either case.

Borland once had it right, treat sw as a book (5, Informative)

ZorroXXX (610877) | about 2 years ago | (#42391651)

Back in the days, Borland was a refreshingly sound and sensible manufacturer, trusting its customers (as opposed to others' love for dongles or code wheels or whatnot). If you are not familiar with Borlands's No-Nonsense License Statement, by all means read the full story [osnews.com] .

This software is protected by both United States copyright law and international copyright treaty provisions. Therefore, you must treat this software just like a book, except that you may copy it onto a computer to be used and you may make archival copies of the software for the sole purpose of backing-up our software and protecting your investment from loss.

...

Re:Borland once had it right, treat sw as a book (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about 2 years ago | (#42391841)

That must be an newer version of the license. I remember when Borland said you could have multiple copies installed as long as you made certain that only one person was using it at a time.

Re:Borland once had it right, treat sw as a book (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392305)

People talk about digital content, but there is a more sinister shadow out there.
The whole cloud scheme and SAAS really bothers me.
Think about not owning your own computer or the software it runs. Instead you have to
Lease it from a vendor who maintains it is just easier this way. If you think I am kidding
Just look at some of the statements made by MS lately. No more exchange? Last version of windows?
Personaly I like to keep my programs and data at home, where I know who has access to it and IT am not dead in the water
If some idiot kills my DSL.

Re:Borland once had it right, treat sw as a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392409)

Think about not owning your own computer or the software it runs.

I can't. If it ever gets to be prohibitively expensive to own a computer capable of running arbitrary code, then that'd be the end of my computing life.

An Unintended Upside... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391667)

I occurs to me that there is an unintended upside, so to speak, to not being able to "reassign" ownership to the items covered by these two cases: it makes them an excellent place to hide your assets from your creditors / ex-spouses.

Think of it...

"Yes, your honor, I do have 20 million dollars worth of assets, but most of it is the form for European made antiques, acquired legally before the US Supreme Court ruling outlawing such sales, and so I am unable to liquidate them to pay my debts, thus the reason why I am seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection," the man said, privately smirking to himself.

And so, either we really do own these things and can do with them as we please, or we don't own them and they become perpetually frozen assets that are safe havens for those trying to "hide" their assets.

Re:An Unintended Upside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391703)

Are you ... a financial planner?

Re:An Unintended Upside... (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#42391741)

Don't worry the ivy-league trained communists and 'social constructionists' behind idiocy like this will make exceptions for feminist 'empowerment.'

Re:An Unintended Upside... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#42392097)

Don't worry the ivy-league trained communists and 'social constructionists' behind idiocy like this will make exceptions for feminist 'empowerment.'

Dear God. You actually believe what you just wrote, don't you? I mean, this isn't a Poe. You actually meant every word of that. Wow.

We're seeing the underlying insanity.. (2, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#42391715)

... of trying to apply copyright and property like rights when applied to non-scarce information.

The reality is as long as human beings are greedy/territorial/assholes they will push their authoritarian agenda of trying to control what other people do for their own gain on others. As copyright and "intellectual property" stand now it acts as a back door dictatorship and is a subversive way to take away peoples freedoms. The whole idea of needing permission to use a product you've bought is nonsense, the whole idea of needing permission to REPAIR a product you've bought is nonsense. The whole idea of kids not being allowed to recreate older works and updating them is nonsense. Reality is the law is absurd and politicians cave to whoever throws the most money at them and forget everybody else, the thing they are most worried about is THEIR CUT and not much else.

We've seen the beginning of insane property laws in Europe when applied to steam games as "steam products", where you can resell steam games but steam gets a cut of the sold copy you sold. It's fucking ridiculous especially when you consider the cost of replication - in practice essentially zero. The whole end game of DRM was to prevent gamers from owning their games and being able to resell them. Europe is trying to half-hazardly come up with a solution but in practice it's still a god damn comedic clusterfuck when compared to the fact that you can get a "used copy" for free off the net. Piracy is a natural outcome of insane laws which were predicted at the beginning of copyright. Companies have too many rights and privileged and much of the public is too uninformed / unconcerned.

The following should be allowed under SANE laws fan remakes and ability to get source-code for games to fix and update them as well as games going into libraries as cultural works, as the laws currently stand a cubic ass tonne of abandonware/old stuff is just junked and it is done on purpose to control the market so companies 'don't have to compete' with their older works. Being able to shut down game servers/etc/take game code hostage on the other side of the internet is just bullshit.

Fan remake of chrono trigger discontinued
http://www.opcoder.com/projects/chrono/ [opcoder.com]

Freespace 2 open - exists because authors were benevolent enough to release it but it should be required by law that all game assets/source go into library an opened up after a fixed number of years so works can be fixed/updated to run on new platforms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhAR8rWPluQ [youtube.com]

As it is corporations have it good with the ability to milk a finite amount of work for much more then it cost to make it which is a dead-weight loss for everyone elses creativity and energy.

Big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42391735)

"Not only does big content deny..."

It's cool lately to cast anything other than a mom and pop local business as "big ".

Hipsters may not like it, but mass marketing is what made most household good affordable for the middle and lower classes.

end of non dealer car service as well (4, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42391753)

end of non dealer car service as well at the worse as well may even having rent a cars come with a fee to who made that car per rent as well.

Re:end of non dealer car service as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392289)

I'm trying to figure out what you meant and failing badly. Something about only dealers being able to work on cars and then something about rental cars?

Re:end of non dealer car service as well (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42392397)

yes both can happen at the worse under a laws like this.

Rent a car place may end having to pay who even made the car a fee per rent as they really don't own the car any more.

And with your own car first off due to way cars are sold with no first sale the car makeing can see it up with the dealers in a way where they don't even own the cars and they will not be able to sell you the car 100% but at maybe at beast a 1 off lease with rules saying you must use a X car dealer for all service as you don't don't the car and we do not let you have work done at a place that is not one of ours.

This is exactly what was intended (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 2 years ago | (#42391755)

It is difficult for us to imagine this is the outcome Congress intended.

They why did Congress put a provision into copyright law which specifically exempts foreign made items fron the right of first sale? It didn't get there out of thin air. This is obviously what they wanted.

Not that dire. Let us not exaggerate. (1, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42391761)

The text book prices in USA are outrageous, and there is severe conflict of interest in profs recommending books and getting kick backs from the publisher. True. But that does not mean we should sensationalize this issue and exaggerate the consequences of the possible court rulings.

The case involves a U.S copyright holder who gives a limited license to a foreign entity to sell books within that country. People who purchase such books in that country have all the first sale rights within that country, (depending on that country's laws). Even if the courts rule against the importer of the books, it will only apply to US copyright round-tripping via a foreign entity. Someone buying a product with foreign IP will have the same first sale rights to buy and sell within USA, like any Taiwanese student who buys these Eastern Economy Edition books to buy/sell within Taiwan. What these publishers are objecting to is, the books very specifically marked "not for sale outside Taiwan" are being smuggled in and sold in USA.

Most of us slashdotters work in the software industry and it is the Intellectual Property protection is responsible in large part to the size and security of our pay checks. Let use look at it objectively.

Re:Not that dire. Let us not exaggerate. (3, Insightful)

melchoir55 (218842) | about 2 years ago | (#42391993)

The IP laws in the States do not protect the size and security of the paycheck of the lowly developer. The lowly developer is paid exactly as little as their company can get away with. It doesn't matter how much the company makes assuming the company makes enough to stay viable. These laws protect the size and security of MBA moochers at the top of the food chain. If my company, for example, made 200x what it does... I would not get a raise. If it made 1/200th of what it does, I wouldn't get a paycut.

Re:Not that dire. Let us not exaggerate. (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42392163)

Most of us slashdotters work in the software industry and it is the Intellectual Property protection is responsible in large part to the size and security of our pay checks. Let use look at it objectively.

Objectively, they want to be able to shop for labor, products and services globally while we can't. Do you think your pay check is any more secure against outsourcing just because they can force people to buy expensive "Not for sale outside the US" editions instead of cheap "Not for sale outside Taiwan" editions? Hell no, they'll go where it's cheapest but would very much like to stop you doing the same. And you bought it hook, line and sinker...

Re:Not that dire. Let us not exaggerate. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#42392165)

You do make a very valid point.

Re:Not that dire. Let us not exaggerate. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42392413)

ANd what we are saying is, no one should have the right to dictate when and where i sell MY property. Once I buy something its MINE, and no longer connected to the first seller in ANY WAY.

Get rid of it... (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#42391777)

Get rid of copyright. Get rid of the notion of applying property rights to non-scarce goods. Any system of property rights (capitalism, communism, etc.) is designed with scarcity in mind.

Re:Get rid of it... (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | about 2 years ago | (#42392073)

Not sure how much thought was put into that statement, but I am certainly putting more thought into it than I should ..... (I think)

Re:Get rid of it... (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42392503)

The consequences of completely abandoning copyright would be very dire in any society which does not completely subscribe to socialism. Before copyright, the natural difficulty that existed to actually make copies in the first place is what gave creators of works some level of control over their own work. If you believe that taking what little (admittedly artificial) control remains on account of copyright legislation would actually be beneficial to society, think again.

Oh dear... (0)

Alien Being (18488) | about 2 years ago | (#42391819)

What on Earth can hundreds of millions of gun toting Americans possibly do to protect themselves from a corrupt government?

Digital (5, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 2 years ago | (#42391843)

When it comes to reselling digital goods, I think that's a whole clusterfuck our legal system doesn't properly account for. How can the court rule one way or the other when there are no laws to interpret? And even if there is some law that applies, is it possible for the court the overrule it on the basis of absurdity?

For instance, if I managed to get a law passed through congress that stated that people must respirate using CO2 rather than O2, does a court have the power to void the law regardless of whether its constitutional or not?

The questions may seem rather dumb, but it seems to me that the nature of digital is so far removed from our normal interpretation of property that it cannot be treated as such. The main difference being that if I resell a guitar of mine, for instance, I no longer have that guitar. With software or digital media, I can just make a copy. If I can't make a copy (well, if it's difficult to make a copy) that's just because the software is designed that way. But the problem with designing software so that it cannot be copied is that it's a futile effort -- it goes against the nature of what software is. All that's needed is electricity and a storage device and you can make as many duplicates as you want. I seriously doubt it's possible to make foolproof DRM -- DRM reminds me of a dog chasing it's tail.

When it comes to the first case I think it's obvious which way the court will rule. There's no way a copyright invalidates the resale of an item. That's not what copyrights were designed to do -- they're purpose is in the name, to grant exclusive rights over copying (and selling) material. When it comes to the second case I think a false dichotomy is being presented. While I do find it questionable whether the first-sale doctrine applies to digital content, but I don't like the idea of 'licensing' something that exists on my HDD (even though, technically, it's all licensed). If it exists on my HDD or SSD it seems that I should be able to do what I want with it aside from make copies to resell (however, I see it solely as a copyright issue, fuck software patents).

I dunno, I guess all I'm saying is that this shit's way too complicated. It's one of many cracks that's forming in capitalism. I'm sure in John Locke's day the idea that property is an innate right sounded good (especially to those with property). But have we extended ownership rights too far? Do I really have the right to own an idea? Sure, but once I publicly express that idea, perhaps it now belongs to the public.

One of the most ironic parts of Atlas Shrugged is when the government abolishes patents and copyrights. Henry Rearden is pissed. I thought it was so funny that throughout the entire book the main characters are bitching and moaning about the government being all over their backs, but when the government actually grants more freedom to society, when the government decides to stop using the threat of violence to protect the coffers of the wealthiest in society, only then do they want the government to wield and assert its power. How can one advocate a philosophy that demands the public be given the least amount of restrictions on their freedom as possible, and at the same time insist that the government is duty-bound to enforce patents and copyrights?

If you really get down and examine what property is, both in a concrete and abstract sense, it exposes itself to be the big gaping logical hole in capitalism. In a concrete sense one's property is the things they have in their possession -- that includes the music and software on your HDD. In an abstract sense, property is what the government grants one a legal claim over and is willing to enforce that claim. Basically, the law doesn't reflect reality, it reflects an abstraction that conflicts with reality. We try to make reality adhere to the abstraction but that's not always possible. Because, in reality, one can only have total ownership over an idea by not expressing it. Once it's been expressed -- verbally, in print, or digitally -- it belongs to anyone who remembers it.

Probably none of this makes sense. I blame eggnog.

This is already the law in California (5, Informative)

DrJimbo (594231) | about 2 years ago | (#42391873)

In Omega v. Costco [wikipedia.org] it was already decided that there is no first sale doctrine for goods manufactured outside of the USA. The case went to the Supreme Court two years ago but the court was split 4-4 (Kagan recused herself) so the lower (9th District) Court decision stood.

There already no first sale doctrine for foreign goods in California and the rest of the 9th District.

As a Seussist I've been warning of this for ages. (5, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42391913)

What is a gift but a $0.00 sale? Posted on December 25th? Clearly, copyright law is merely the newest means for the Grinch to steal Christmas.

Would you like a new restriction?
I would fight it with conviction.

Would you comply just to obey?
I would revolt and say, "no way!"

Would you resale a copyrighted box?
I'd say, "It's blighted with a pox!"

Would you ignore wrapper licensing?
Can blind men be found infringing?!

Would you strip off protected bits?
I'd rather deal in counterfeits!
I do not like less rights and corporate SPAM,
-Signed, Estranged Nephew of Uncle Sam.

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#42392069)

was correct when she said

“citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it. Many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognize and reward.” Source [europa.eu]

So this is good news, the more Ye Average Americans hit their nose against the Great Wall of Copyright, the better. Our job is to show them that this is not "just the way it is" but that there are viable alternatives.

Too late (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42392143)

Next year, the EFF has to start a 'don't gift that copyrighted product' campaign right around Black Friday. Kids having their presents ripped out of their hands by agents of big media, Santa Claus being led off in handcuffs, etc.

Bullocks and bribes.. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42392145)

The copyright industry is trying to apply the properties of physical objects, into the realm of digital bits where object distribution is not bound by physical limits. Add to that they want there cake as well, by having said non-physical objects be bound by physical borders in a border-less environment.

This should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention to the current state of copyright. That these two cases have made it to SCOTUS, just means the courts are forced to play the hand, with Congress in tow, ready to scrape up the muck with whichever way their decision favors. If it favors big media, see the Internet explode in backlash with Congress being lambasted by every industry in existence. If it favors first sale, see big media down play it and blast Congress with bullhorns and checkbooks and testicle trophies. There's no third option here without contradicting state case law, or slapping international copyright agreements in the face.

Stay tuned kiddies! This is where shit gets interesting!!!!

After the Ruling, Can We Fight Back? (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#42392219)

I find myself unsure of how the SCOTUS might rule on either of these cases. If they rule so as to effectively destroy First Sale Doctrine, what are our options? Legislation? For any companies that take advantage of the new rules, can we organize and either compete directly ourselves, boycott the companies in question, or find existing competitors and persuade them to make adhering to First Sale Doctrine a selling point?

Re:After the Ruling, Can We Fight Back? (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42392293)

If they rule so as to effectively destroy First Sale Doctrine, what are our options?

Raise the Jolly Roger.

Re:After the Ruling, Can We Fight Back? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#42392433)

YARRRRRRR!

Summary, and EFF, are scaremongering (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#42392273)

An unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court will not mean the end of resale, even for imported items. It will mean the grey market (sale of items imported from other countries without the blessing of the manufacturer) will become illegal, but items bought from authorized resellers in the United States will still be able to resold.

I rather suspect the Supreme Court will be sharpening their knives and splitting this hair very fine, ruling against the importer but failing to provide guidance otherwise.

Re:Summary, and EFF, are scaremongering (2)

Dasuraga (1147871) | about 2 years ago | (#42392453)

Thank you for pointing this out. The thing that matters in these cases is the point of sale, not the point of creation. If this passes, we could see things like car companies forcing dealerships to buy from overseas, however. That would be worrying for actual distribution outlets. Imagine your entire business being at the whim of manufacturers desires, even after you paid them.
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