On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld your right to resell. The case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, related to Supap Kirtsaeng, who bought cheap, lawfully made textbooks in Thailand, mailed them to the United States, and sold them to U.S. students via eBay. Publishing company John Wiley & Sons claimed copyright infringement. SCOTUS disagreed. And that’s good, because while the case concerned textbooks, it could have had implications on the legality of re-selling any product made overseas.
Who owns our stuff? The answer used to be obvious. Now, with electronics integrated into just about everything, the answer has changed. We really don’t own our stuff anymore (at least not fully); the manufacturers do. This is a property rights issue, and current copyright law gets it backwards, turning regular people—like students, researchers, and small business owners—into criminals.