Do you really own the smartphone or computer you’re using to read this? If you sold your books, would you be breaking the law? A federal court in New York says you would be, even if you legally paid for and bought them.
It’s unbelievable, but trademark and copyright holders really are trying to use a legal loophole to take away your right to sell things that you own: Please add your name at right to fight back.
Public interest advocates are taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court, and Demand Progress is joining up with a coalition of groups — including many of those that came together to kill SOPA — to support the rights of ordinary Internet users and everyday consumers.
We are working to defend a long-standing principle known as the “First-Sale Doctrine.” This common-sense rule gives us the right to sell most property we own, but big businesses have been trying to chip away at out our rights in the courts. If the Supreme Court supports the lower court’s decision, we won’t really “own” anything if any part of it was made in a different country. And practically anything you own — from your iPod to your house — could have been made abroad, in whole or in part.
We only have a few months to make our voices heard before the Supreme Court makes a lasting ruling. We are asking President Obama and the U.S. Department of Justice to stand up for the little guy: The President can urge the Court to side with consumers, but he’ll only do it if we bring enough pressure to bare.
If we lose this fight, practically anybody who wants to resell products they bought — from Macbooks and iPhones to our clothing and textbooks — will have to ask copyright holders for permission first. And they’ll have the right to deny it!
It’s bad for so many reasons: It’ll undermine Craigslist and Ebay, hurt the environment, increase incentives for manufacturers to move jobs off-shore, and effectively ban the traditional American yard sale.