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Old 03-19-2013, 01:16 PM   #1
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US Supreme Court Upholds Right to Resell

The US Supreme Court has ruled on a case that has been extensively discussed at MobileRead.

I'm very pleased to say that they have "ruled that you do have the legal right to resell legally purchased content that was produced outside the US." (A 6:3 verdict.)

This is a very important decision that will affect our US members, and may well affect non-US members if the ruling is taken into account in deciding similar questions in other jurisdictions.

You can read the full ruling here, or read about it at The Digital Reader here.

Last edited by pdurrant; 03-19-2013 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:32 PM   #2
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VERY bad ideal to legalise the "grey imports" business, IMHO. Market conditions are different in different parts of the world, and it's very common for publishers to produce low-cost editions for developing markets such as India and Thailand. The only effect of this decision will be to stop the publication of such editions.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:42 PM   #3
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VERY bad ideal to legalise the "grey imports" business, IMHO.
I think it was a very bad idea ever to ban "grey imports". I regret that it's still the case in the EU.

And if this ruling had gone the other way, far more than grey imports would have been banned.

Any item containing any copyright material that was manufactured outside the US would have become illegal to resell in the US. Even if bought there. A publisher would have been able to print books in China for sale in the US market, and then forbidden the resale of those books.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
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All this means, is that in the future, the publishers will have to do the grunt work of actually customizing the books sent to foreign markets (change the exercises, &c.).

Protecting the first sale doctrine and cutting off the criminalization of individuals selling their property is far more important.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:50 PM   #5
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to SCOTUS - great decision.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I think it was a very bad idea ever to ban "grey imports". I regret that it's still the case in the EU.

And if this ruling had gone the other way, far more than grey imports would have been banned.

Any item containing any copyright material that was manufactured outside the US would have become illegal to resell in the US. Even if bought there. A publisher would have been able to print books in China for sale in the US market, and then forbidden the resale of those books.
What this decision means, though, is that manufacturers have effectively lost the right to be able to set prices according to local market conditions, and that's a very, very bad thing, which is going to end up being extremely bad for the consumer in the long term. This won't only affect consumers in the US - it will affect people all over the world.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:01 PM   #7
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They may have to tighten up grey imports, but banning resale would have been far worse. It seems that there are two issues in play here, importing and resale, and the court dealt with the latter.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
What this decision means, though, is that manufacturers have effectively lost the right to be able to set prices according to local market conditions, and that's a very, very bad thing, which is going to end up being extremely bad for the consumer in the long term. This won't only affect consumers in the US - it will affect people all over the world.
Too bad, but I've always been against subsidizing products. Why should I pay more than someone else for the same item? This ruling should help level the playing field.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:03 PM   #9
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Of course you can resell an item that you own, how was this even a topic for discussion? This went all the way to the supreme court? Wow, just wow...
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:05 PM   #10
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Too bad, but I've always been against subsidizing products. Why should I pay more than someone else for the same item?
Because the cost of doing business is very different in different parts of the world. That's a simple fact.

Quote:
This ruling should help level the playing field.
By levelling it upwards for the poorer parts of the world, I very much fear .
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:07 PM   #11
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Of course you can resell an item that you own, how was this even a topic for discussion? This went all the way to the supreme court? Wow, just wow...
This was about importing textbooks from Thailand (where they're very much cheaper) and reselling them in the US. Such "grey imports" are illegal in the EU, for example, and there are very good reasons for that.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I think it was a very bad idea ever to ban "grey imports". I regret that it's still the case in the EU.

And if this ruling had gone the other way, far more than grey imports would have been banned.

Any item containing any copyright material that was manufactured outside the US would have become illegal to resell in the US. Even if bought there. A publisher would have been able to print books in China for sale in the US market, and then forbidden the resale of those books.
Not . . . really. Aside from SCOTUS not having to make any particular ruling bindind case law, the issue in this case was specifically books printed and sold in a country that is not part of the Berne Convention, and has no first sale doctrine of its own. The issue was whether or not it was legal to import books to sell in violation of another countries laws, specifically when those laws conflict with US law and international treaties the US has signed.

This was really a very limited case, despite the hysteria that was generated over it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
What this decision means, though, is that manufacturers have effectively lost the right to be able to set prices according to local market conditions, and that's a very, very bad thing, which is going to end up being extremely bad for the consumer in the long term. This won't only affect consumers in the US - it will affect people all over the world.
I disagree. It limits the ability of publishers - we're talking copyrights here, not manufacturing in general - to manipulate pricing in a global market. If the price difference between India and the US is so great that it's profitable to buy books there and import them here to resell, then the publishers should be doing that themselves, not supressing competition.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:26 PM   #14
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Of course you can resell an item that you own, how was this even a topic for discussion? This went all the way to the supreme court? Wow, just wow...
The books were bought in a country that hasn't signed the Berne Convention, and doesn't have a first sale doctrine, IIRC. And were therefore exported illegally from that country. It's the sort of thing that ends up in court on a regular basis, and sometimes the rights holder wins. The real solution here is to stop future imports of grey market books when they're being exported illegall from the country of origin, and I suspect that's already in place in this case (and not, legaly speaking, all that controversial).
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
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VERY bad ideal to legalise the "grey imports" business, IMHO. Market conditions are different in different parts of the world, and it's very common for publishers to produce low-cost editions for developing markets such as India and Thailand. The only effect of this decision will be to stop the publication of such editions.
Harry, you continually preach how important it is to obey the law, to obey the courts.

And so here we are.

I like this decision, and of course the market will adapt. Babies will be born. Old and careless folks will die, and taxes will rise.

Nothing new under the sun.
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