- Posted October 8, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Could It Be Goodbye to Yard Sales?
I love garage sales and thrift stores. I am a firm believer that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Could the garage sale go by the wayside if the Supreme Court upholds the ruling that the “first sale principle” only applies to products manufactured in the USA not those products manufactured abroad.
The case that has brought this issue to the attention of the Supreme Court is Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley &Sons. In 1997, Supap Kirtsaeng bought textbooks from Thailand and then resold them to college students on eBay, undercutting the college bookstores. Wiley, the company that produced the textbooks sued him for copyright infringement. The court ruled that the “first-sale principle”, which says businesses can only get paid once for a product and after that the purchaser has the right to re-sell it, only applies to products manufactured in the US, not abroad.
On October 29 the case will go before the Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court also upholds it it will require Congress to change the law so that people who purchase products made overseas will have to seek permission from the manufacturer, who still holds the copyright on the product, before reselling it.
What that means for you and me, is that there is very little we can sell in a garage sale, on Craiglist or on eBay. What will that do to the used car industry? What will that do to Goodwill or the Salvation Army? This case is one to watch…hopefully common sense will enter this debate and we can continue to buy and sell things to each other with abandon as we have always done.