Wiley v Kirtsaeng Media Update

by Jenn Cano on October 15, 2012

XSi has been tracking the Supap Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. Supreme Court case. We can’t believe it’s taken the rest of the U.S. until now to be aware of just exactly what this means to all consumers including individuals, businesses and government buyers. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Wiley, then no one will be able to resell a product they own if it was manufactured overseas. Which is just about everything these days. We are talking iPhones, Toyota cars, Antiques, TV’s, computers, gaming systems, toys, etc.

If Wiley wins then U.S. consumers lose:

  1. Manufacturers will have control downstream of their products. They will have no competition and their prices will rise and their service levels will fall.
  2. Manufactures will be encouraged to ship all their manufacturing overseas.
  3. The U.S. will see a further increase in corporate layoffs and unemployment will rise.
  4. Small businesses who make a living in secondary markets (like selling on eBay) will fail. They will lay-off workers increasing unemployment.
  5. eBay, Overstock, Amazon and other online transaction entities will lose a majority of their customers. – More layoffs.
  6. Auto and other service companies will not be able to source parts at reasonable prices to compete with the manufacturer.
  7. Leasing companies will lose residual values on current leases.
  8. You won’t be able to have a garage sale.
  9. Owner’s will have no rights.

This is very real:

Copyright case hot topic

Tribune-Review (PA)

October 13, 2012


Oral arguments are set for Oct. 29 in Supap Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. Kirtsaeng, a native of Thailand who came to America to study at Cornell University, found textbooks published by Wiley were cheaper back home — so he got relatives there to buy copies and ship them to him here, where he sold them on eBay, making thousands of dollars…The case has generated media reports hyping the notion advanced by Kirtsaeng’s side that if Wiley prevails again, nobody would be able to resell anything foreign-made, from personal electronics to family heirlooms to artworks, and that libraries, museums, eBay and Craigslist could be affected. It’s even suggested that such a ruling could prompt U.S. companies to move all their manufacturing overseas.

Your right to resell your own stuff is in peril

Market Watch

October 12, 2012


Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s agenda this fall is a little-known case that could upend your ability to resell everything from your grandmother’s antique furniture to your iPhone 4. At issue in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which allows you to buy and then sell things like electronics, books, artwork and furniture, as well as CDs and DVDs, without getting permission from the copyright holder of those products… There are implications for a variety of wide-ranging U.S. entities, including libraries, musicians, museums and even resale juggernauts eBay Inc. (US:EBAY) and Craigslist. U.S. libraries, for example, carry some 200 million books from foreign publishers.

ABA Amicus Brief Sides with Textbook Publisher in Infringement Suit over eBay Resales

ABA Journal

October 12, 2012


The American Bar Association is siding with a textbook publisher that sued for infringement when a California grad student purchased its books cheaply overseas and then resold them on eBay for a profit. In an amicus brief (PDF), the ABA urges the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm a decision for publisher John Wiley & Sons by the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court held that a copyright owner retains a right to control the importation of its goods when they are made and distributed abroad, an ABA press release explains.

Boss Emily Bazelon Around


October 15, 2012


Quality King Distributors, Inc. v. L’anza Research International Inc.: The sleeper case of the coming year, I swear, is about textbooks. Supap Kirtsaeng is a Thai doctoral student sued for copyright infringement by the publisher John Wiley & Sons for reselling on the Web copies of U.S. textbooks sent to him by friends and family in Thailand. The case I need to understand, to decide what I think about Kirtsaeng’s, is Quality King,  a 1998 decision about goods made in the United States and purchased abroad for resale here. That time around, it was shampoo bottles. Are you hooked yet?

Local bookstores concerned about possible copyright law changes

Fox 8 (NC)

October 12, 2012


An upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case could change how businesses and individuals can re-sell certain books, CD’s, DVD’s and artwork without jumping through hoops. Operations at used bookstores, comic book stores and even yard sales could all change based an appeal the Supreme Court is hearing regarding the Kirtsaeng v. Wiley case. Earlier this year, courts awarded textbook Publisher John Wiley & Sons $600,000…. Greensboro bookstore owner Mark Wingfield is keeping up with the resale laws in this Supreme Court case. He says he’s not sure exactly how it would affect his used bookstore, Empire Books, in Greensboro…Wingfield sells used books both online and in his Greensboro store. He explains his business and many others based on the “first sale” principle.

Supreme Court Could Make Reselling Difficult


October 13, 2012


A Supreme Court case may put your ability to re-sell your own stuff may be in jeopardy. IU Associate Law Professor Lea Shaver says the First Sale Doctrine says anyone that owns a physical copy of a copyrightable work has the right to re-sell the item. The First Sale Doctrine has stood since 1908, but the court's recent ruling has sent the doctrine to the Supreme Court. The case stems from Supap Kirtsaeng's days at Cornell in 1997 when he found textbooks were much less expensive to buy in Thailand, so he had his family by the textbooks and sold them for a profit in the U.S. Professor Shaver says Kirstaeng's efforts made him 1.2-million dollars. The company that made the textbooks stated they charged less for books overseas, and sued Kirstaeng, he countered with the First Sale Doctrine.

The Supreme Court and yard sales: An unlikely tale

The Sentinel (NH)

October 14, 2012


Browse for “iPhone” on eBay — that 17-year-old online auctioneer that allows users to buy and sell everything from jewelry and clothes to cars and houses over the Internet — and you’ll find more than 1.1 million listings. The products for sale range from two-year-old iPhone 4 devices; to cases, cords and attachments; to new-in-the-box iPhone 5 models released earlier this month.But a legal appeal slated to be taken up by the United States Supreme Court later this month could dramatically change the face of online auctioning, along with used car sales and even that old standby for making a quick buck on your used stuff… Thailand native Kirtsaeng discovered that textbooks nearly identical to those sold in the United States could be bought far cheaper in his home country. Kirtsaeng had friends and family in Thailand buy and ship the books to him and he sold them on eBay, making nearly $1.2 million… John Wiley & Sons, Inc., the New Jersey-based manufacturer of the books, sued Kirtsaeng.

Supremes to hear case that could outlaw garage sales, thrift stores

North Colorado Gazette

October 15, 2012


The United  States Supreme Court is poised to head a case at the end of this month that could essentially shut down garage sales by prohibiting the resale of used goods purchased by a person. The case involved  U.S. student, Supap Kirtsaeng, who discovered that textbooks used in the college he was attending were available cheaper overseas. Kirtsaeng purchased the textbooks and resold them to fellow students. The company, John Wiley & Sons, sued, saying Kirtsaeng’s reselling the books which he had purchased was a copyright violation. An appellate court agreed with the company which is seeking over $600,000 in damages

Opinion: Secondary Market Shutdown

The Dartmouth

October 15, 2012


While our modern economy may be complex, at its foundation much of it is intuitive — especially the simple, everyday act of buying and selling. I take something I own and give it to you for a price that we both agree is fair, and both of us walk away with what we want. As long as I didn’t steal what I sold to you or it wasn’t illegal to possess it in the first place, then there’s no problem. An upcoming Supreme Court case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley and Sons, however, is calling that most intuitive part of our market economy into question… This could very well mean the demise of businesses such as eBay, which derive an enormous amount of revenue from such sales.


Copyrighters Take Legality Of Second-Hand Sales To Supreme Court

Russia Today

October 15, 2012


Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons will center on whether or not an individual can buy copyrighted material outside the United States, then resell it inside the US… But if the Supreme Court chooses to do so, it would apply to anything that has a Made in China, Japan or Europe sticker on it – causing problems for businesses like pawnshops, the Salvation Army, eBay, Craigslist, and other resale-based organizations. Such a ban would prove especially troublesome for websites like Craigslist and eBay, which allow people to buy and sell their belongings online…In opposition to the potential change in copyright law, eBay has launched a movement to defend the first-sale doctrine. The online auctioneer has launched “eBay Main Street” – a website dedicated to mobilizing its merchants.

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