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Supreme Court to Rule If You Own What You Already Own – Tech Tuesday

Feel free to insert the stupid siren here, because when I read the title, I couldn’t believe it myself. Yes, the highest court in the land is going to rule if the products you bought, that were made in another country, can be resold by you with out permission from the manufacturer. The icing on the cake, if they say no, you may have to pay royalties! Yeah, blast that stupid siren loud!

A Supreme Court Police officer stands outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images

It all started when a student, who was trying to make ends meet, was reselling textbooks online, that his family in Thailand bought and sent to him, and was fined $60,000 by the lower courts for copyright violations made by the publishers. So the US Supreme Court is now going to rule if things made overseas, bought and then resold in the United States are protected by copyright laws and can’t be resold without the manufacturer’s permission, and may even have to pay these companies,  royalties.

There was a similar case in 2010 that made it to the high court but they split the decision 4-4. Now they are tacking another whack at it. But they have already ruled in another case that copyright doesn’t enter into it when the goods are made in the US, sold abroad then brought back into the US.

So what about eBay and Amazon? Don’t they kind of do the same thing? It’s estimated they make $63 Billion off this kind of thing. But the chilling part is the little guys like us. If the court says yes, that means the secondary market or grey market as it’s sometimes called, will be illegal and we’ll have to get permission to sell these items. Like Ford parts made in other countries. I don’t think Producer Steve’s hobby of reselling auto parts would be as fun for him any more. And how about those used video games? The discs are made overseas. Will they count too? How about your smart phones? Think about it, but be careful, you may get a headache from it.

$> /usr/bin/scotus -stupidstuff

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