ASCDI/NATD members, your ownership rights are under attack! Today, you have the right to freely import and resell a wide array of information technology products from around the world. Under current US Copyright law, manufacturers lose the right to restrict resale of their products after the first sale. Known as the “First Sale Doctrine” once you buy a product you own it and have the absolute right to resell that product regardless of where the product was manufactured and without the need to obtain the permission of the manufacturer. These rights are at risk and represent a threat to global commerce in every industry from computers to books and everything in between!
Recent federal court decisions on the U.S. Copyright Act have undermined this principle of ownership rights. Of immediate concern is the upcoming Supreme Court case known as Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. If upheld, this case has the potential to eliminate ownership rights for legitimate products manufactured outside the US. This may mean that you must first obtain the permission of the manufacturer to import and/or resell products manufactured outside the US.
The Kirtsaeng case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for hearing on October 29, 2012. ASCDI has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court advocating that the Supreme Court overturn the decision of lower court and reaffirm the First Sale Doctrine as it has been understood by merchants and consumers since1908: If you buy something, you own it, and are free to resell it – no matter where the item was manufactured or originally sold. Bill O’Reilly from Fox News seems to agree with our position. Have a listen to http://video.foxnews.com/v/1889925709001/ to hear his opinion of the issue. It starts at the 2 minute mark of the video.
Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, we anticipate that there will be a battle over this issue in Congress. To that end, the ASCDI has taken a leadership role in a group of organizations called the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI) which has plans to lobby the U.S. Congress on this issue.
The ORI’s first step is taking is to publicize the issue and to recruit others to join the group.
Here is where we stand to date on the publicity front
- October 9, 2012- Radio interview on Voice of America on ownership rights with Jonathan Band (www.policybandwidth.com/) that can be found here. FirstSaleDoctrine10-09-2012.mp3 (This takes a 30 seconds to download.)
- Marketwatch- http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-right-to-resell-your-own-stuff-is-in-peril-2012-10-04
- Channelnomics– http://channelnomics.com/2012/10/05/supreme-court-destroy-channel/
- October 16, 2012- 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern time- The Association of Research Libraries is giving a webinar on First Sale, Foreign Textbooks, and the Supreme Court Case That Threatens Library Lending Tuesday. To register for the webcast please visit http://www.visualwebcaster.com/event.asp?id=89442.
- October 23, 2012- The ORI is holding a Press conference which ASCDI will be part of. A week prior, a press release will go out.
Your ASCDI Membership is more important than ever before. This is a battle we have to fight; and together one that we will win.