eBay Defends The Right to Resell Property

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eBay Defends The Right to Resell Property

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An upcoming Supreme Court case could subject second-hand sales to the approval of rights holders in the US.

The US' first-sale doctrine essentially ensures a citizen's right to resell their property by limiting the rights of copyright holders. The doctrine has come under legal scrutiny following a lawsuit brought against student, Supap Kirtsaeng, by textbook publisher, John Wiley & Sons.

Kirtsaeng, a Thai-born graduate studying in the US, was buying textbooks overseas and reselling them in the US via eBay, undercutting the inflated prices publishers often charge for course material. John Wiley & Sons sued Kirtsaeng and eventually won, with the appeal court limiting the first-sale doctrine "specifically and exclusively" to works made in territories in which the US Copyright Act applies and excluding "foreign-manufactured works."

The lower court decision is being brought to the Supreme Court in the coming months. If upheld, it could have far-reaching effects on second-hand sales of, well, pretty much everything, including the already legally murky second hand gaming market. It could even affect library lending policies if a brief from the Library Copyright Alliance is to be believed.

The case is making a lot of businesses that facilitate reselling nervous, including online flea market operator, eBay. The company has launched a "grass roots" movement to defend the current first-sale doctrine, and has launched "eBay Main Street" to mobilize its merchants. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Software and Information Industry Association have both filed in favor of the Appeals Court finding.

While the US court system has weakened consumer rights regarding used sales, the opposite seems to be happening in Europe. Earlier this year, the EU court ruled that customers are legally entitled to resell their digital games, regardless of what a title's EULA may say. The ruling doesn't mandate that publishers have to provide a way for gamers to do so, but it does mean a third party could legally provide that service. Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

Source: The Register

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Grey Carter:
The ruling doesn't mandate that publishers have to provide a way for gamers to do so, but it does mean a third party could legally provide that service. Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

Doesn't Green Man Gaming do this?

I also preordered Borderlands 2 for $33 from them. If only I could somehow move the games from their Capsule service onto Steam...

Kopikatsu:

Grey Carter:
The ruling doesn't mandate that publishers have to provide a way for gamers to do so, but it does mean a third party could legally provide that service. Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

Doesn't Green Man Gaming do this?

I also preordered Borderlands 2 for $33 from them. If only I could somehow move the games from their Capsule service onto Steam...

Well you can install it then load it onto steam so its launched that way?

Thats the best I got though

Kopikatsu:

Grey Carter:
The ruling doesn't mandate that publishers have to provide a way for gamers to do so, but it does mean a third party could legally provide that service. Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

Doesn't Green Man Gaming do this?

I also preordered Borderlands 2 for $33 from them. If only I could somehow move the games from their Capsule service onto Steam...

Not exactly. If a game uses any distribution system than Capsule, it can't be traded in. I'm a big fan of GMG though.

Kopikatsu:

Grey Carter:
The ruling doesn't mandate that publishers have to provide a way for gamers to do so, but it does mean a third party could legally provide that service. Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

Doesn't Green Man Gaming do this?

I also preordered Borderlands 2 for $33 from them. If only I could somehow move the games from their Capsule service onto Steam...

FelixG:

Well you can install it then load it onto steam so its launched that way?

Thats the best I got though

Also, a lot of the games in their store are steam keys to begin with. Although granted, those are the ones you can't resell; you can only resell the ones that go through their store without needing a third party.

Also, Green Man Gaming rules. I've got a couple of games from them that I got free from promotions, and if I wanted to I could even sell them back. They're worth jack squat, but it's literally money for nothing.

Edit: fixed my majorly borked quote boxes. This is why I usually just let the pyramid grow XD

If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

scotth266:
If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

So on what point is what you said change anything ? No one mentioned any altruism until the point of your post. And if you took time to read you would notice they are not defending digital property resell but first sale doctrine on actual material good.

Digital property resell was just a example of how Europe is going in the opposite direction.

scotth266:
If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

Actually, eBay is defending the right to resell ANYTHING. Here's some perspective: there is still life out there that isn't just digital distribution and dlc unlockers.

---

Methinks a corporate lawyer somewhere had thought "Finally! Someone abused the system a tiny bit. Now we can fight to have consumer rights diminished for everyone." The very idea that an intelligent judge wouldn't just throw this collective punishment bull out of a window is laughable.

So...basically...

Some jackasses want to BAN yard sales?

Thank you 1%...I mean 'job creators'.

Tanis:
So...basically...

Some jackasses want to BAN yard sales?

Thank you 1%...I mean 'job creators'.

Actually it started out as someone who wants to ban someone from buying products over seas where they are sold cheaply and than sell them in the United States undercutting the price of publishers in the United States while still maintaining a profit.

For a video game sales, think of some store buying American released games at 60 dollars and than undercutting the overpriced video games in Australia by reselling them at 80 AU dollars + import cost, when the local publishers are demanding 120 AU dollars.

The book publisher already got it's blood money when she purchased the text books originally; they're certainly not losing any when she turns around and sells them for a lower price. Hell, the people who bought from her would have bought used books anyway I'd wager. Thankfully the SC seems to be pretty good about ruling in favor of sanity with it's current judges.

It would be absurd to rule against second-hand sales, and it would probably deal a sizable blow to the economy if companies like Ebay, Amazon, or Gamestop suddenly found themselves inundated by lawsuits as a result. Frankly I find it scary that now even the textbook publishers are using second-hand sales as their personal boogeyman. Are they not making enough money off the near guaranteed income of absurdly priced learning material for university classes, or the massive bulk orders to school districts across the country?

The game industry crying about used sales is annoying, but the education publishing industry crying about it is just fucking insulting.

including the already legally murky second hand gaming market.

Murky? Why, because ponies?

scotth266:
If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

This isn't about digital property. Grey brings up that the EU has, by comparison, expanded the right to resell TO digital property, but that's not what eBay is rallying for.

This one...is actually far tougher to judge than people expect. We are not talking about a guy buying yard sale items and selling them more expensive or cheaper on Ebay. We are talking about a guy who buys, possibly cheaper, items from outside the U.S. and selling it into the U.S. for a cheaper price.

Here is something I am hoping can be cleared up. Can an individual buy a cheap product from a foreign country, like gold, and sell it into the U.S. without any taxes added on to it or anything else?

Everything's always hell in politics town.

What the hell, guys? There's nothing wrong with how things are right now.

Akisa:

Tanis:
So...basically...

Some jackasses want to BAN yard sales?

Thank you 1%...I mean 'job creators'.

Actually it started out as someone who wants to ban someone from buying products over seas where they are sold cheaply and than sell them in the United States undercutting the price of publishers in the United States while still maintaining a profit.

For a video game sales, think of some store buying American released games at 60 dollars and than undercutting the overpriced video games in Australia by reselling them at 80 AU dollars + import cost, when the local publishers are demanding 120 AU dollars.

I hope you're not trying to justify AU game prices.
O_o;

Because, even as an American, I know that playing 120USD for a video game is COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

If there was ever a case for "price gouging", then it'd be in AU's gaming market.

Akisa:

Actually it started out as someone who wants to ban someone from buying products over seas where they are sold cheaply and than sell them in the United States undercutting the price of publishers in the United States while still maintaining a profit.

For a video game sales, think of some store buying American released games at 60 dollars and than undercutting the overpriced video games in Australia by reselling them at 80 AU dollars + import cost, when the local publishers are demanding 120 AU dollars.

Which is, in fact, how region locking came to be. And why import tariffs on things like CDs are so high. "We don't want to be undercut, so we'll lobby to make the process as inconvenient and as prohibitively expensive as possible."

KeyMaster45:
The book publisher already got it's blood money when she purchased the text books originally; they're certainly not losing any when she turns around and sells them for a lower price.

This isn't about losing money so much as it is about maintaining a death grip on an extremely profitable market in a way that borders on racketeering. They even have their claws in the used market, and they see this new phenomenon as a threat to said lock. They can get away with it because it's a market where it's been virtually impossible to "shop around" for text books. It's horrible, but it's pretty much par for the course (and not just in this industry, see above about CDs and the region locking of later media).

Tanis:

I hope you're not trying to justify AU game prices.

They were giving an example of how this works, not justifying the combating of it.

Grey Carter:
Unfortunately, no companies have stepped up to that wicket just yet.

IS that a cricket reference Grey? There was me thinking you were American!

Maybe I am not fully understanding this but can't they just put "Thai Edition" on the front of the book?

As both a consumer and a man whose job partially depends on an after-sale market, this terrifies me. It's another attempt by copyrights holders (who may not even be the original creative talent behind the product) to monopolize intellectual property and control consumer choices, allowing them to set the price where they want.

I deal with both publishers (and the creative talent who signed their works away to them) on a day-to-day basis and, to put it very bluntly, publishers don't care about the consumer or the authors they represent (for the most part). They don't care about making their business models more efficient in the hopes that they can offer consumers a better deal. They only make things more efficient to give themselves a bigger cut of the standard prices that they've set.

They've tried to do similar things in price fixing for e-books (which landed them an anti-trust lawsuit). Why? Because they didn't like that Amazon was undercutting the cost of e-books in order to garner buyer support and use of e-book technology. You know...because providing the best service for the best price you can (thus getting an IP into the hands of more people) is bad and wrong.

"with the appeal court limiting the first-sale doctrine "specifically and exclusively" to works made in territories in which the US Copyright Act applies and excluding "foreign-manufactured works".

So then selling an old TV on e-bay would be made illigal as it is a "foreign-manufactured works"?

Guess I better step up my efforts in collecting old games since, knowing our government, I'll lose the ability to in the near future.

Oh and I can't wait for the deluge of people defending this.. not realizing that it would make it impossible for them to sell their cars, homes, or anything else.

Crippling the resale market in some asinine attempt to somehow boost sales is something like sawing off a foot so you only have to buy one shoe. Sure, maybe you've succeeded, but you're going to find you've harming yourself and a lot of people other people for negligible gain, end up earning resentment when people learn about your choice and how it's inconvenienced them, and probably make a bloody mess in the process.

scotth266:
If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

Not to sound cold or anything, but...what's your point? Developers against such a concept are operating under the same principle. But that doesn't mean the idea of fighting for resell isn't right.

I like it how America is a free market and the consumer decides how much they should pay for something.

Correct me if I'm wrong but text book publishing already almost shakes hand with the idea of monopoly and then someone came selling a product of the same quality (heck, the same product) for less that should be a welcome competition in free market, not something on which court will decide to limit second hand sales.

How I wish we lived in a perfect world, where educations is so valued that textbooks are free and teachers well payed. Sadly, that is not the case.

captcha: million dollars, yes, selling textbooks is a million dollars business...

Seems pretty cut and dry actually. The publishers in this case have not lost any sales. Maybe they are losing revenue but that is really beside the point. The analogy made in the article about second hand games doesn't even make any sense as typically a gamer only buys one copy of a game and resells after done with said copy. Even so there can be a case made for a publisher "losing a sale" there even if it is tenuous at best.

In this case we have a fellow who is legally buy a bunch of textbooks at the prices agreed upon in the region purchased and reselling them in another region. It's a little shady but not as shady as say charging enough extra in the US for someone to make a profit on. If anything this exposes what a racket Uni textbooks are. The publishers here are not losing sales and no case can be made that they have. Without being a lawyer I am having difficulty understanding how any court could have ruled against this guy outside of undue influence.

Fight the power and bring some sanity to book prices for students.

Oh no, some company was almost forced to actually compete in a free market for once. We can't have that! I mean, then you might have competition, lower prices, and consumers happy they don't have to blow their life savings on textbooks alone. Hell, the government might even save some money, since it could then give less for student loans because textbooks wouldn't be prohibitively expensive. Why would we want any of that? I mean, really. Won't someone think of the poor companies! D:

dangoball:
Correct me if I'm wrong but text book publishing already almost shakes hand with the idea of monopoly and then someone came selling a product of the same quality (heck, the same product) for less that should be a welcome competition in free market, not something on which court will decide to limit second hand sales.

How I wish we lived in a perfect world, where educations is so valued that textbooks are free and teachers well payed. Sadly, that is not the case.

captcha: million dollars, yes, selling textbooks is a million dollars business...

I'd hardly say that they have a monopoly. There are quite a few publishers and writers in the text book industry, but all in all, I agree. If this goes through it could mean a great loss for consumer rights in USA.

However I don't like what this person is doing importing books from a country where things are cheaper with the intention of profiting on it doesn't sit right with me. Mainly because I have had problems with book shortages myself and have tried to buy it from foreign dealers without luck. Buying up the stock in order to earn money while undercutting publishers hurt the students that need those books. Most likely they wont have the resources to buy it from abroad since that would cost more and being a student is harsh enough without increasing text book costs.

BreakfastMan:
Oh no, some company was almost forced to actually compete in a free market for once. We can't have that! I mean, then you might have competition, lower prices, and consumers happy they don't have to blow their life savings on textbooks alone. Hell, the government might even save some money, since it could then give less for student loans because textbooks wouldn't be prohibitively expensive. Why would we want any of that? I mean, really. Won't someone think of the poor companies! D:

I hope you realize that this really isn't a "competition" in a free market. That would be two companies making a similar product of almost equal quality and having consumers choose one over the other, whether for price or some other non quality reason. In this case however it's a company making a product and having a third party come along and take their own product and use it against them. Which in this case doesn't mean they will have any competition in the long run, and I hope you realize why this is. The simple solution is that they flat out don't compete. Oh you bought our books from here? Ok, jack up the price to make the prices equal and now you can no longer sell the book for cheaper and make a profit. The company wins.

Rednog:

BreakfastMan:
Oh no, some company was almost forced to actually compete in a free market for once. We can't have that! I mean, then you might have competition, lower prices, and consumers happy they don't have to blow their life savings on textbooks alone. Hell, the government might even save some money, since it could then give less for student loans because textbooks wouldn't be prohibitively expensive. Why would we want any of that? I mean, really. Won't someone think of the poor companies! D:

I hope you realize that this really isn't a "competition" in a free market. That would be two companies making a similar product of almost equal quality and having consumers choose one over the other, whether for price or some other non quality reason. In this case however it's a company making a product and having a third party come along and take their own product and use it against them. Which in this case doesn't mean they will have any competition in the long run, and I hope you realize why this is. The simple solution is that they flat out don't compete. Oh you bought our books from here? Ok, jack up the price to make the prices equal and now you can no longer sell the book for cheaper and make a profit. The company wins.

How is the person reselling books using it against them? The person reselling books payed for those books in the first place. It is like complaining that a book store is using its product against the company, despite having bought it from that same company. :\

someone who is re-selling stuff always prevents the buyer from making the purchase from the original source. Meaning where 2 books could have been sold, only one is sold (following retard exec logic that any second hand buyer would automatically be a first hand buyer if the means to resell where properly sealed behind bars.) and the company has made a net loss (wee, moron logic!).

That is the basic issue companys have with re-selling of ANY kind. That problem will never go away and that is why they will always fight it.

I still say: fuck you, companys.

scotth266:
If Ebay is trying to defend the right to resell digital property, it is because it sees a market slice that it wants, not because they're the altruistic defenders of the internet.

That is true, however in the process they are defending the basic right to resell. Don't have any illusions about their motives, but take all the help you can get.

Besides, although I'm sure ebay has probably done at least one terrible thing in the name of money, they aren't actively trying to destroy human civilization like some other companies we know of.

I'm kind of tired of fighting all this shit though. This will never end until the court system is out of the hands of legal mercenaries.

Perhaps I'm being obtuse here, but last time I checked when you buy something, that means it belongs to you. If I purchase a book or anything else, I'll use it, sell it, set it on fire, or repurpose it as a cereal bowl. It doesn't matter, I own it

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