Could selling your old used stuff soon become Illegal?

Have you ever sold something at a garage sale? How about an old used car or truck?

Grage Sale SignShockingly, your rights to sell your own property could be in jeopardy, and it all hinges on how the Supreme Court rules later this fall.

The upcoming court case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, will decide whether or not you to have the right to buy and then sell things like electronics, used CDs and DVDs, books, artwork, furniture and a variety of other products without getting permission from the original copyright holder. As crazy as that sounds, it would literally mean having to get permission from a company like Apple to sell your old Iphone.

The case originally started after a college student discovered that buying his textbooks from Thailand was cheaper than buying them here is the States. He then bought a large number of textbooks and began reselling them to students on ebay. The publisher of the textbooks, who admits that they sell these books at a deep discount overseas, then decided to sue the student for copyright infringement.

Under current copyright laws, the manufacturer of a product only had control of the first sale. But depending on how the court rules, the copyright holder may now be able to deny your right to sell your own used products, or require you to pay a fee when you sell that product. The coming Supreme Court decision could affect any products that are manufactured, printed or designed overseas – which is about 99% of the crap that’s now sold in this country – and could significantly impact websites like ebay, Amazon and Craigslist.

Should the Supreme Court side in favor of the publisher, it would have wide reaching implications that would affect the sale of pretty much any used products.


  1. Gail
    October 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I was just reading about this, this morning…unbelievable!

    • jackie
      October 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      punish that person ,not the world.Does every one go to prison because one idiot chooses to blow out someones brains.make the person that commite the crime pay , not everyone.HOW RIDICULOUS

    • Laura
      October 14, 2012 at 1:12 am

      Is this the Governments way of trying to Stimulate the economy. You cant buy used items anymore. YOU MUST go out and buy brand new things.

      • Chris
        October 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

        The blame should be on the company and the lawyer. Where does the government come into it? The courts will rule on it because they have to.

        • Anton
          October 17, 2012 at 4:56 am

          just drink your cool-aid and relax and enjoy

        • Anton
          October 17, 2012 at 5:06 am

          just drink your cool-aid and relax and enjoy

  2. Rebecca March
    October 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Right, front page news. Woman arrested for having a yard sale, charged with selling her used clothing that is too big for her.

  3. Maggie
    October 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    This is just plain nuts!

  4. hot toddy
    October 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Let’s see…what else could they micromanage? Used videos, CDs, magazines….look out pawn shops and flea markets! the copyright Gestapo is looking for YOU!

  5. Augbaby
    October 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Too much Government!!!

    • sean
      October 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      government lol you really think its the government that cares about this stuff?

      they dont care in the slightest its all your friendly local(global) corporations

  6. carl
    October 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

    that publisher is notorious for even charging college professors for materials to use in their classrooms. I avoided using them whenever possible.

  7. Amanda
    October 9, 2012 at 4:19 am

    This is crazy!!! What are people suppose to do w old stuff trash it? Sounds like donating to goodwill would be illegal too bc they will sell for profit layer lol. It’s called reusing!!! Something more people need to do

  8. Intercepter
    October 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

    How do I post these on my alt facebook page? They only go on my personal facebook page. I have created a new page about injustices in the constitution etc. called The Awakening and this is perfect for it. Please contact me via email and also join my page. Thank you so much.

    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      October 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      You should be able to just copy and paste the link onto your page. It should automatically pull up a summary to the article

  9. Tim Harp
    October 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Deney me my right to get rid of some junk. Fine. The companies should give me back my money when I am done with it. Since I can’t resell it then they should have to give me 100% of my money back. This will save me in the long run on books and games.

    • sean
      October 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      atleast 80% back for a 20% usage fee

  10. DrBill
    October 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Oh My God There’s Thrift Shop CRIMINALS Out there!
    Dirty Communists Make Laws Like This.

  11. Joshua Taylor
    October 10, 2012 at 1:19 am

    The First Sale Doctrine only applies to American made goods, it doesn’t apply to overseas companies. If you bought an anime or manga or a Toyota vehicle, you can’t resell it. If you have a Ford that made in America you can.

  12. rev. dave
    October 10, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Well, technically, Wiley & Sons should be trying to collect from whomever it was in Thailand that sold the books, and from all bookstores too. After all, THEY sell the books to vendors, who become the owners. So then the vendors should be paying Wiley & Sons again out of the sale, right? A college student is already the second owner – the first being the bookstore. And the same statement would apply to the Thai source being the first owner, selling the ‘intellectual property’ that they own to the student.

    “…the manufacturer of a product only had control of the first sale.” So the bookstore is the second sale, and the manufacturer (publisher) is skipping over the initial buyers reselling to prosecute the second buyer? I don’t see how that can work in court. That would put Amazon in big-time jeopardy!

    • rev. dave
      October 10, 2012 at 11:55 am

      My last statement was not clear – sorry. I meant that Wiley suing their buyers for reselling would put Amazon in jeopardy. But it would be fun to see which company won that one as Amazon would clearly have access to better legal representation than a college student would have.

    • Patti
      October 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      The manufacturer’s have already sued and won which it is now in the Supreme Court. The original owners live in a foreign country. The sale of the property that violated the law (in the manufacturer’s eyes) happened in the US. They have to sue in the US for the copyright infringement if the infringement happened in the US. The original owner’s did not violate copyright law. They legally purchased the books in the foreign country. They did nothing wrong, except to send the books to the US to a student that decided to sell them at a profit instead of keeping them on his bookshelf.

      Amazon may have to make sure that their disclaimer for independent sellers is clear that they are not liable if the independent seller violates the law with the sale of their items and in order to be an independent seller with them they will have to agree to those terms. With a disclaimer Amazon can protect itself.

    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      October 16, 2012 at 1:41 pm

      I think you’re right on your Amazon statement. This case is going to have some huge repercussions down the line.

  13. natasha wylie
    October 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    lol Can you imagine the trouble the Military would be in if they had to get permission from the manufactors to sell off their used or surplus equiptment? Can you imagine the governments allowing that to happen? I very much doubt it.

  14. Speedkat
    October 11, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Not even Ford and Chevys are american made. Depending on the model they could be made in mexico, canada, berzil, vietnam. Take your pick. Parts made by the cheapest bidder and assembled by the cheapest bidder. My Toyota Tundra is more american made than some of the so called domestic brands

  15. Patti
    October 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    After reading most of the documents in this case, this decision will NOT give precedents for selling clothes, etc. These textbooks were not printed or sold in the USA. The companies position is that because these books were never intended to be sold in the US (and had declarations printed within them that states this) it is a violation of copyright law. The petitioners in this case arranged for the purchase of these books in foreign countries and had them shipped to them by friends or family. Then they posted them on online sites for sale at a profit. If they had only kept the books for themselves or sold them at cost this would not have been an issue. Any books and CD’s purchased in the US that were intended for use in the US would be covered by copyright law.


    • OFFGRID Logo
      Off Grid Survival
      October 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      These same books were being sold in the U.S. at an inflated price. The Publisher was basically counting on the fact that Americans would pay pretty much anything for their materials while at the same time deeply discounting the books overseas.

      And there are huge implications that could follow this case. While I doubt anyone is going to come raid your garage sale; companies like Apple and other big electronics manufacturers are closely watching this case.

      Should the publisher win, you will likely see ebay, craigslist, and other resellers taking a big hit. These companies don’t want their old products being resold. They want you to buy the newest model and this will ensure you have to.

  16. Frank Lee
    October 18, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Plain and simple. GREED. I mean, seriously? This is going on in retail stores all the time! Okay, so we’ll just have to find the loophole and do a co-op in order to retain our freedom to control our own destinies. GREED is evil. SURVIVAL is Natural. Screw the control freaks!

    December 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    every state in the union, besides the federal government is looking to control the barter system.
    each state looses billions in tax revenue every year due to this system
    they are looking to control yard sales also.
    in INDIANA they already have laws on the books as to how many days you can have a yard sale. too many and then you have to register it as a business. then they can collect taxes.

  18. 4K47R34P3R
    December 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    go after the company with a class action suit. claim they limited us supply to drive up prices. this is illegal in USA

  19. Will
    April 17, 2013 at 12:55 am

    I Dont Think It Should Be Illegal To Sell Your Stuff. Just Illegal To Charge A Huge Amount For It.For Example I Buy A DVD For $1.00 Then I Sell It For $20.00 That Should Be Illegal.

    • seth
      April 26, 2014 at 7:38 pm

      That’s silly though! You should have the right to charge whatever you want for a price, just like you have the choice to buy or not buy a product from a place that is selling it for more. Regional sales and the amount of supply could warrant for cheaper or more expensive prices. Now buyers need to be smarter I think is what you should be saying. If people keep buying marked up items, the peoples involved have no reason to lower them. Now if people were smarter and knowing that the price is a rip off, the items being sold at such place or from a person would not sell thus forcing a lowering in price.
      Stagnate merchandise more than most costs a larger amount if it is not being sold.

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