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Living Freedom by Claire Wolfe. Musings about personal freedom and finding it within ourselves.

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Claire Wolfe

Your right to sell your stuff

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Is your right to sell your very own used stuff in peril?

Jennifer Waters’ Consumer Confidential says:

Tucked into the U.S. Supreme Court’s busy 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.

The short version: In the U.S. courts have long recognized that once we buy something — whether it’s a Van Gogh painting or a Toyota — it’s ours and we can re-sell it.

Not so in some other parts of the world — or at least not without paying obeisance to the original maker. And now one more attempt is being made to impose other people’s laws on us. So potentially, if your car has Japanese parts or you bought that dress on a trip to Italy, it might become illegal to re-sell it.

If Ms. Waters is right, and the Nazgul do their frequently statist thing, we could technically lose The All-American Garage Sale. Or eBay. Or Craigslist. Or … perhaps even gun trading?

Sounds alarming.


Now let’s stop a second. And give a hearty, insouciant Freedom Outlaw laugh (once again) to the arrogance of Our Rulers.

Then let’s get some practicalities out of the way before we continue slapping our thighs in contemptful, Outlaw glee.

The Supremes just might choose to find against statism this time. If the Nazgul rule bad, Congress could afterward choose to restore Our Right to eBay via legislation.

But no matter what they do, if it hinders us from selling our stuff it’s just chaos-causing nonsense.

Remember the diktat a couple of years back that was going to prevent anybody from selling used kids clothes, toys, blankies, etc.? (Might contain lead, you know.) It stunk. It also got howled down by an angry public. Oh, sorry. I mean the ruling got “clarified.”

And even if it hadn’t, do you believe for one minute that millions of mommies and daddies around the country would have said, “Oh, well, then. I guess we’d better landfill Baby’s old stuff in lead-lined containers to keep the world safe from lead that might be in it. We don’t dare defy the Might of the Federal Government to make a buck off it”? Hahahahaha! Not one freaking chance.

No matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter what Congress does or doesn’t do, this is just the sort of issue that — hey, ain’t it grand! — produces more Outlaws. And more ordinary, everyday, going-about-our-business contempt for Authoritah.


Oh, I’m sure if the Supremes rule that we have to pay the copyright and patent holders to resell our stuff, some unpleasant mainstream accommodations will be made. Maybe there will be licenses required for resale with money going into a fund to pay off the original manufacturers. Rembrandt’s wife’s third cousin 10 generations removed and Whistler’s mother’s aunt’s brother’s great-great-grandson will sue for a “fair share” when somebody tries to sell a masterpiece. Companies or individuals with big financial interests will make life miserable for big institutions that facilitate that resale of goods — and make things more expensive for those who try to resell in such aboveboard ways. An “eBay tax,” anyone?

But as for the rest of us, we’ll just slip further between the cracks, further underground, further into having a Good Bad Attitude. Nobody will stop doing what they do. If some damn law or ruling makes it difficult or expensive, we’ll just do it in a different way. And millions more will realize that the gummint, despite a lifetime of propaganda, doesn’t really exist to help them … and isn’t really powerful enough to hinder them, either.

And so power crumbles …


(H/T H.)

48 Responses to “Your right to sell your stuff”

  1. Joel Says:

    I don’t even know what insouciant means, but it sounds like fun.

    But Claire! What if our masters tell us we can’t? Break a law? I’d NEVER do anything like that.

    Hee – unless it gets in my way.

  2. jesse bogan Says:

    Sounds like a sure fire way for the pinheads in DC to ensure that there is an underground economy. I just don’t get why so many of those in “power” wish to be like Yurrop or someplace other than here. My ancestors came here in the late-ish 1600s to get away from all that Yurrop stuff. So did theirs at some point. From where I stand, I can see nothing from there I would wish to emulate….

  3. Woody Says:

    I do lots of things for people I know, just because I know how to do them and they don’t. I refuse to accept money for anything. They can help me out when I need it or just pay it forward. Exchanging good/services with friends for money has just never felt right to me. Maybe that’s why I’m as poor as I am, ya think? Oh, and I really, really don’t like dealing with the tax man any more than absolutely necessary.

  4. Kent McManigal Says:

    “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

  5. Jim B. Says:

    Well, at least it’ll give the compulsive Hoarders an excuse to keep their stuff. You know who I’m talking about, the ones who have their favored stuff piled to the rafters with them. They carefully walk around because space is tight and afraid of cave-ins of their stuff falling. We may not even put anything out into the garbage because potentially someone may grab it, which is a form of transaction and that would be a violation of copyright.

    And Kent, I believe that quote is from the Heinlein novel “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” with the Prof speaking it.

  6. jb Says:

    Much to do about nothing . . .

    What most folks never understand is that gummint never worries about the little guy (unless, of course, to screw him around with currency printing, costs of the FED, and interest rates – all of which make real estate pretty much unaffordable like gasoline -idiots!).

    I always operate under the radar, in plain sight. It sounds silly, until you do it and realize that gummint is an ass, always has been an ass, and always will be an ass (Geez, that sounds almost Church-like liturgical!).

    It is. And istis much to do about nothing, and the sooner most, or many, get that one simple fact, the sooner we get our country back.

    I sweat nothing for gummint, and all for me and mine. The gummint is too stooooooooooopid to get it, and I love it.


  7. CopperHead Road Says:

    Don’t know that I have intentionally broken any laws. Bent, stretched, compressed, went around, under or over a few but I don’t remember a lot of broken ones(HEH). Make malum prohibitum a way of life

  8. Yank lll Says:

    More people need to read their Constitution, even if only for justification to refuse and resist the illegality of usurpation of authority. If Article 3 Section 2 doesn’t specifically allow it the SCOTUS cannot legally do it regardless of what congress or the lawyer elites say about it.
    If you do ever read it you will note that Article 3 Section 2 specifically restricts their authority to only make sure that anything they rule on is in compliance with restrictions and other limitations placed on all laws by the constitution.. the key words being “arising under this constitution”.. if it doesn’t comply it is illegal and unconstitutional and has no legal standing of enforcement.
    That in itself is all the justification you need to refuse and resist.. the Constitution says so.. to hell with the corrupt SCOTUS and all the federal justices with their activist BS.
    Americans should always remember that the constitution was written for plain english interpretation and a simple grade school function of “Diagramming a Sentence” will tell you everything you need to understand intent and content without some corrupt lawyer or judge deciding for you.. go here for instructions:

    Yank lll

  9. RTO Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, becuase I’m not sure what the problem is. From a moral and common sense and personal experience perspective, I see lots of problems with the practice of copyright holders restricting future use and sales of their product. But from a conservative and/or libertarian perspective, I don’t.

    Think of homeowners associations: The original developer creates an HOA corporation, and membership is mandatory as a condition of home ownership. The HOA corporation has perpetual lien rights on your house, in order to secure any and all future debts that can never be paid off (sounds like a tax).

    As a result, there are many things you cannot do with your house without the HOA corporation’s permission, including renting and selling your house. Or you may have to pay a transfer fee ( often 1% to 5% ) to the original developer and/or HOA corporation when you sell your house. These are not hypotheticals; these practices are happening all over the country.

    Books and records and videos are obviously not houses, but they are “property”. And since Ayn Randians LOVE homeowner association corporations, they should also support the right of original copyright holders to place any and all restrictions on future use and sales of their product, as long as their is some unilatterally-amendable fine-print in some-document-called-a-contract allowing this.

    It is interesting that “British courts were somewhat dubious about deed restrictions because they thought over time use restrictions would accumulate and reduce the value of property, but as we know the US judiciary buys the argument that restrictions are good for property values because they prevent unwanted uses of land.”

    All the manufacturer has to do is create some “Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions” (CC&Rs) that are tied to their product , which will be enforced as a contract — whether anyone actually agreed to it or not — and this practice will be OK.

    If an original copyright holder places a future-use-and-sale restriction on his product that you don’t like, don’t buy their product. Capitalism 101! The only thing the government is doing is enforcing the original “contract”, and isn’t that what government is supposed to do?

    Or should the courts determine that such agreements and restrictions are “unconscionable” and nullify them?

  10. Claire Says:

    RTO — Where do you get the idea that this case has anything to do with voluntary agreements? It’s about government imposing the laws of one country on another.

  11. RTO Says:

    “Where do you get the idea that this case has anything to do with voluntary agreements? It’s about government imposing the laws of one country on another.”

    Where do you get the ideas that this is about “government imposing the laws of one country on another”? What foreign laws are being imposed by the government? As far as I can tell from the story you linked to, the only laws in question are U.S. laws.

    The case in question is a lawsuit between two private parties: Supap Kirtsaeng, a natural person who is being sued by the publishing company John Wiley & Sons. Wiley is a private corporation seeking to protect its rights under existing U.S. copyright law, by claiming that the “doctrine of first sale” does not apply to items imported into the United States. The government is not a party to the case, it is only doing its Constitutional duty by determining the merits of the case.

    Oh, I absolutely agree that Wiley’s claim is absolutely absurd that, if upheld, would have adverse consequences.

    But that’s my point: private corporations — developers and HOAs — have already found a way control all future sales of somebody else’s private property, via CC&Rs, that didn’t require a re-writing of the law; only a change to documents that courts enforce as “contracts” (whether or not anyone actually agreed to them). And the consequences to millions of individual Americansare adverse and unexpected. But I’m told by Ayn Randians that the individuals involved deserve to have bad things happen to them, becuase they agreed to be abused.

    If copyright holders and other manufacturers did the same thing, via “license user agreements” that are enforced as contracts, would the absurd and adverse consequences of the practice become more palpatible?

    Libertarian logic says “yes”, but common sense says “no” because it would be absurd and unconscionable.

    That was my point, which I thought was explained in paragraphs 6 and 7 in my comment above.

    A Privated Toll Road To Serfdom is no more desirable than a government Road To Serfdom, since they both end up in the same place.

  12. Claire Says:

    What private, voluntary agreement existed between Wiley and Kirtsaeng?

    What private, voluntary agreement exists between Wiley and anyone in the U.S. that forbids re-selling copies of Wiley books?

    For that matter, what in U.S. copyright or patent law forbids resale of books or most other items (that is, those things that aren’t subject to user agreements)?

    From the MarketWatch article:

    Put simply, though Apple Inc. AAPL -2.13% has the copyright on the iPhone and Mark Owen has it on the book “No Easy Day,” you can still sell your copies to whomever you please whenever you want without retribution.

    That’s being challenged now for products that are made abroad, and if the Supreme Court upholds an appellate court ruling, it would mean that the copyright holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it.

    This is about foreign law.

  13. RTO Says:

    “What private, voluntary agreement existed between Wiley and Kirtsaeng?
    What private, voluntary agreement exists between Wiley and anyone in the U.S. that forbids re-selling copies of Wiley books?”

    The story does not mention any type of end-user license agreement (EULA), so for the sake of argument, let’s stipulate there was none. But so what?

    This case is not about EULAs.

    This is about the enforcement of U.S. copyright law, which does not require any type of voluntary agreement between the two parties.

    At least two courts have already determined that U.S. copyright law does give copyright holders and manufacturers the right to control second-hand sales of their product.

    from the story:

    In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling that anything that was manufactured overseas is not subject to the first-sale principle. Only American-made products or “copies manufactured domestically” were.

    Not having read the decision, I have no idea what their rationale was. You’ll have to ask the judges involved “what in U.S. copyright or patent law forbids resale of books or most other items”, because I don’t know. All I know is that, unless the Supreme Court rules otherwise, or Congress changes the law, U.S. copyright law forbids the resale of books and other intellectual property without the copyright holder’s permission.

    No contract between the two parties is required, just as there is no contract required between us to prohibit me from making copies of 101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution” or “I Am Not a Number!

    I’m not saying that I agree with the earlier courts’ ruling. It is so absurd that it defies common sense, and the consequences will be disasterous.

    But my point, which I’m apparently not making clear, is that copyright holders, patent holders, and manufacturers could control the down-stream re-sale of their products with some type of EULA or C&R (conditions and restrictions), even absent a favorable ruling in this case.

    And if/when private parties control the down-stream re-sale of their products via EULAs and C&Rs, the results will be just as absurd and adverse and disaterous.

    Putting aside the issue of “foreign law”, since it is not applicable — and I’m not sure where you’re getting that idea — my question to you is:

    Is your outrage or objection or whatever the result of

    (a) the absurd and adverse idea of manufacturers, etc., controlling the down-stream re-sale of their products that consumers have already paid for, or

    (b) the idea that courts might allow them to do so without requiring any type of EULA or C&R, or

    (c) something else?

    And if manufacturers, etc., did include some type of EULA or C&R with their product, would their control of the down-stream re-sale of their products that the consumer had already paid for be OK with you?

  14. RTO Says:

    FYI: John Wiley & Sons is incorporated in Hoboken, New Jersey, United States of America.

    It’s NJ corporate registration number is 5112971011

  15. Claire Says:

    No contract between the two parties is required, just as there is no contract required between us to prohibit me from making copies of “101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution” or “I Am Not a Number!“

    This isn’t about making copies. It’s about re-selling copies Wiley made and Kirtsaeng bought. Different issue.

    But my point, which I’m apparently not making clear, is that copyright holders, patent holders, and manufacturers could control the down-stream re-sale of their products with some type of EULA or C&R (conditions and restrictions), even absent a favorable ruling in this case.

    Oh, sure. Absolutely they could. And buyers could agree or object. But again, that does not appear to be the issue in this case.

    Is your outrage or objection or whatever the result of

    All three of the above. Except please understand that I’m not in the slightest bit outraged. And I don’t care enough to object. I’m laughing in contempt at the idea of government thinking it can control the uncontrollable.

  16. onefreeman1951 Says:

    While I find your articles hold much that can be agreed with, this is not one of them. On the surface it does appear to be a threat to & involve the “first sale” doctrine, which protects our right to obtain property for our personal use/investment then resale it to offset costs or harvest the investment. Deeper examination exposes this to be a situation more akin to cd/dvd bootleggers than something involving personal use. This person recruited family members to mass buy textbooks in his home country (where they are licensed to be sold at a cheaper rate), not for personal use but so he can resale them for profit in the US; said profit amounting to $1.2 million.

  17. RTO Says:

    This isn’t about making copies. It’s about re-selling copies Wiley made and Kirtsaeng bought. Different issue.

    And there is one set of laws governing both behaviors — U.S. copyright law.

    No foreign law is involved.

    No “private voluntary agreement” needs to exist between the two parties.

    Under U.S. copyright law as currently interpreted, it is just as illegal for Supap Kirtsaeng to import-and-resell Wiley’s books as it is for me to make copies for yours.

    I’m laughing in contempt at the idea of government thinking it can control the uncontrollable.

    In this instance, it is a private corporation, John Wiley and Sons, and not the government “thinking it can control the uncontrollable”.

  18. Karel Says:

    Did I just click onto an objectivist forum by mistake?

  19. KirasViking Says:

    It’s not about a broad-brush application. It will be “readjusted” so it makes more sense on the socially polarizing issues because they need to save us from ourselves. The only way they have control over us is if we break the law, and the laws are about to get much more reaching so we are all criminals. Then there will be selective enforcement. Just like the DOJ now.

  20. ILTim Says:

    “But Claire! What if our masters tell us we can’t? Break a law? I’d NEVER do anything like that” -jesse bogan

    Hahahaha!! I sure don’t assign any legitimacy to what pigs do anymore, what with all the home invading, handicap and dog murdering, and lemonade stand busting they do. I’ve actually picked up the habit of letting them know how I feel by flipping the bird every time I pass a patrol vehicle.

    But a good friend drew a short straw a while back and got sent for reprogramming. To my utter, complete, jaw dropping astonishment, he obeyed every edict – which included a ban on driving, then a partial ban with hoops of fire. I urged him to ignore the BS and just go on with normal life, to no avail. He absolutely would not so much as toe the line.

    Makes me fearful, that.

  21. Woody Says:

    Gettig a tit stuck in the bureaucratic wringer can be a very scary/life changing experience for many people. The government is very good at intimidation. The inside of a jail is not a pleasant place by any stretch of the imagination. It doesn’t surprise me that someone would be intimidated by the prospect of incarceration.

  22. just waiting Says:

    LOL Whoever thought OJ would be so ahead of his time? Isn’t he in prison for stealing memorabilia of himself?
    If he had just waited a few years, he may have had a legal right to reclaim the stuff he had sold. Maybe he can appeal and claim a retroactive grandfathered eula?

  23. 12bitphoto Says:

    RTO may have the best of intentions. He probably really believes the arguments he makes are rational and relevant. This, as I see it, is perhaps the biggest problem with libertarians: they spout theory that applies under a set of conditions, e.g. a “free market” and all that it implies, that is negated at the outset because the necessary underlying assumptions that the theory is based on don’t exist in the real world.

    Talking about the enforcement of current copyright law as if it has any place in a libertarian concept of a “free market” is downright ludicrous. And EULA’s? Seriously? If this is the kind of nonsense that passes for libertarianism these days, then there must be loads of “libertarians” who love Obama and will be equally in love with Mittens.

  24. Claire Says:

    “I’ve actually picked up the habit of letting them know how I feel by flipping the bird every time I pass a patrol vehicle.”

    ILTim — What are you hoping to accomplish?

    You don’t need the digitus impudicus to reinforce your own sense of freedom. Flipping ’em the bird doesn’t do anything to end police abuse. In fact, it seems to me very much like the action of someone who gives the cops more credence than they deserve. Strikes me also that a random display of hostility like that has all kinds of potential to hurt you, and no potential at all to make you more independent of the state. So what’s it for?

  25. clark Says:

    I’m guessing the real target in this whole fiasco is Goodwilll and Salvation Army Thrift stores. They have more foot traffic per square foot than Walmart and they beat Walmart prices, at least in every one I’ve been in. I doubt Walmart executives don’t notice, and as is typical in this country, big business and goberment are in partnership to lock out competitors.
    Who knows though, just another day in Vampire world.

    ILTim wrote, “I’ve actually picked up the habit of letting them know how I feel by flipping the bird every time I pass a patrol vehicle.”

    I had a friend who used to do this too. Many of us thought he was just asking for it by doing that, and he did get it for other unrelated Three Felonies a Day stuff. YMMV.

    One other thing, for those that don’t know, some libertarians are for copyright bs, and some are against it. So maybe don’t lump them together.

  26. Mrs. J. Says:

    My suggestion is to attach, say, different colored clothespins to items you want to “pass on” to someone else. These CLOTHESPINS are for sale at various prices. When somebody takes an interest in acquiring items from you, they pay you for the CLOTHESPINS, then the items they are attached to are GIVEN to them absolutely FREE! You pay sales tax on the CLOTHESPINS. If all of a sudden the government outlaws the sales of clothespins, you attach buttons or rocks or ribbons or pieces of junk mail to your item. This can be kept up indefinitely. And with the last suggested item, you’d also be getting rid of something you’ve no doubt been trying to get rid of by other methods for years.

  27. Claire Says:

    Mrs. J — Now that’s a hoot!

    I suspect it’ll never come to that. But that’s precisely the kind of Outlaw ingenuity that will find a way around any official silliness on earth. Thanks.

  28. TimeHasCome Says:

    A black market is simply a market the Government does not want you to have . There is a reason our Congresscritters no longer hold “Town Hall Meetings” . Instead they hold Tela-Town-Halls because they are afraid of the people . It’s only going to get worse folks . I feel better no that the Government (Homeland Security) has purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammo.
    That is 5 times what the armed forces shoots in a year fighting two wars . Please see HB6566 if you want to see the answer for all that ammo.

  29. Mark Says:

    This will explode the use of trusts since the “ownership” dosn’t change, just the “beneficial interest”

  30. Claire Says:

    Another provocative thought. Thanks, Mark. So, now if the Nazgul rule for gov and big biz, we’ve got several ways all set to go around them. :-)

  31. L Tecolote Says:

    The Nazgul already know what they can do (to themselves) if they can’t take a joke ….

  32. Tommy Payne Says:

    It’s interesting, Claire, that you have such contempt for the SCOTUS if it overturns the first-sale doctrine to forbid reselling of, say, your books–but if they overturned copyright law the other way, and permitted publishers to print copies and sell them, you would call them thieves. Indeed, when one person so much as questioning the way copyright and patents work, and proposing that they should be replaced with alternatives that don’t rely on government force, you called him a thief and refused to discuss the matter any further.

    If the government can forbid me making a pair of suspenders with plastic clasps (since Buzz-Not has a patent), and selling them, I don’t see why they can’t forbid purchasers of those suspenders from reselling them without paying a royalty. (Interesting word, royalty, don’t you think?) You support government control over first sale, even of something I invent independently (as happened with the light bulb and the steam engine), so you already accept in principle that buying and selling are under government jurisdiction.

  33. Claire Says:

    “You support government control over first sale, even of something I invent independently…”

    I do??? That’s news to me.

  34. Tommy Payne Says:

    Claire, note this discussion in which someone argues, competently, that copyright law needs to be replaced with a non-coercive substitute, and you call him a thief:

    He said, “Copyright is not a matter of contract. There could be such a contract, and I encourage freedom-loving authors to hammer out the details, and so create a free market in publication that doesn’t involve aggression.”

    You replied that “ripping off the product of someone else’s mind in the name of ‘property rights'” is “exactly what [he’s] trying to do here.”

  35. Claire Says:

    Thanks for the link, Tommy Payne. If people care to read the entire discussion, they’ll see that I’m not responding to the idea of free-market alternatives to copyright law, but am responding to the position that anybody has the “right” to take work someone else created, (added) copy it, and profit from it at will, with no regard for the creator of the work.

    In fact, the project I’m working on right now will be published under a creative commons license.

  36. Tommy Payne Says:

    I look forward to your new work! And I applaud any experiments at finding coercion-free solutions.

    Having read the entire discussion, I can say that the participants appear to be talking past one another. The question that rubbed you the wrong way seemed to be, “If I see you riding on this ‘wheel’ thing you just invented, and I go home and make one of my own, or even sell it, WHAT HAVE I STOLEN FROM YOU?” It seems as if you believe that it would indeed be theft–but what was it that was stolen? That’s not a rhetorical question; it’s a real question. What is it, that you believe is being stolen, that belongs to you as the inventor?

  37. Claire Says:

    “What is it, that you believe is being stolen, that belongs to you as the inventor?”

    Only two of the three most important things I have: my time and my brainpower — or rather, my ability to make my time and my brainpower pay for me.

    I’m speaking as a writer, not an inventor. There are obviously some similarities between the two, but some differences as well, and those differences are recognized in copyright and patent law. (NOT that I’m endorsing those laws; just that they do recognize real-world differences.)

    Issues of law and philosophy are subject to endless debate. My position is consistent: I am not a cow. My mind is not a cow’s teat. Anyone who expects creative people to go on producing endlessly, just so lazy, talentless sociopaths can grab our work without our consent, copy it en masse, and profit from something they couldn’t have produced expects what never will be.

    I may (and do) give away my own work for free. Where did anyone else acquire the “right” to take my work without my consent and call that freedom?

  38. Bob Robertson Says:

    It is my opinion that Copyright as we know it only exists as a govt mandated monopoly.

    But fraud is a different matter. It is also how the fashion industry works.

    I make a distinctive shirt, and sell it at some astronomical price as a genuine Bob. Someone sees it, copies it, and sells it for less.

    Have they “stolen” anything from me? No. I still have my shirt to sell.

    Have they defrauded my customers? Only if they label theirs as a “Bob”, which it is not.

    Without Copyright, I could copy and sell Claire’s book, true. But I could not claim to have written it, that would be fraud. I could not claim to be giving the proceeds to Claire unless I actually did so, that too would be fraud.

    Without copyright, how do you know the author is getting any cut of the sale price? The Creator Endorsed Mark

    Claire, I believe your concern about massive theft of your creative efforts is misplaced. I hope beyond hope that Copyright is abolished, and that the social standards which emerge in what I’ll call Future Common Law do everything to support the prosecution of those who commit fraud.

  39. mountainman Says:

    One important factor to take into account is that the governments of the world are working towards a cashless society whereby all transactions are immediately registered. Therefore, nothing can escape the dragnet and
    enforcement of such a law is a simple matter. Please recall that recent notices to businesses by the Department of Homeland Security label cash transactions as suspicious behavior and a tell tale sign of terrorist activity
    that should be reported.

  40. Chuck D. Says:

    If the Supremes pass this unconstitutional garbage law, all one has to do when making a brand new purchase, is require the seller (for himself and as a proxy for the manufacturer, inventor, etc. ) to sign a waiver
    relinquishing all future claims on any profit at resale, and to include future owners. If they refuse to sign, your refusal to buy the product will create a market for those producers/sellers who WILL sell and sign the waiver.

  41. TheReals Says:

    Wow. Thank god 12bitphoto took a second to weigh in with an ACTUAL libertarian perspective. Otherwise the entire commentary here would get one giant fail.

    Why don’t you all take a break and formulate an original idea before subjecting readers to any further inanity. Discussing the just application of property and free exchange in the context of existing laws around copyrights and patents is an exercise in stupidity. Either accept the laws, and follow them completely, or make an argument outside the context of them. Arguing against these laws from inside the very framework of them is not insightful, rational, or libertarian. In fact it would seem that this practice itself could be considered copyright infringement. Please cease and desist.

    Now for some reality.

    Ideas and words are not property of anyone. A third grader can see this. Words (musical notes, etc), and thus any possible combination or arrangement of them, predates anyone who would attempt to claim ownership of them. Similarly it is the already-established laws of nature that enable the function of any physical, mechanical, chemical device, for any purpose. The same 4 mechanical principles are fundamental to every machine ever built or patented. And each is only possible because those principles existed before anyone endeavored to put the to use in any given manner. Thus asserting any claim of ownership on them is beyond absurd.

    If you believe anything else, please don’t tell us you base these beliefs on your belief in markets. Markets are based on production of tangible goods. If I produce something, and you produce something identical in every way, what I produced is MY PRODUCT, and what you produced is YOUR PRODUCT. The IDEA of the product is not owned by anyone but simply a consequence of the laws of the universe that allow it to function in the intended manner. Temper all of your arguments above against the fact that many companies now have patents on genes at work in your body right now. Even though the origins of the human genome is billions of years old, do you concede that you are property of some drug company, subject to their terms and conditions of use, and can be bought and sold for royalty as well? Its the same argument.

    Patents and copyrights are simply a monopolistic fabrication for the government to use as a tool to control the fortunes of others, manipulate free markets, and debase GDP. How much money is spent in the entire sphere of patents and copyrights annually? Hundreds of billions. And for all that money what net increase in the production of tangible goods does this create. ZERO POINT ZERO. If you don’t see that the net result is a destruction of wealth and efficiency, you’re not as smart as you think you are (and probably still fail to see why your job was shipped to China or India). For that reason it is exceedingly foolish to argue the merits or detriments of pending copyright laws in the context of existing copyright laws. The entire subject needs to be scrapped and erased from modern thought as soon as possible. It is nothing more than a fraudulent manipulation of logic and reason as a means to steal and control.

    If all you can do is point to ‘the way it is’ and argue from within that framework, then please don’t posture as if you aren’t a sheep. You are. If you want to talk about how to make REAL changes, you have to be able to acknowledge the absolute realities. Not just appeal to the narrow and recent reality imposed upon you for as long as you fail to see the fraudulent foundations it is built upon.

  42. Tommy Payne Says:

    “Only two of the three most important things I have: my time and my brainpower — or rather, my ability to make my time and my brainpower pay for me.”

    Your time has not literally been stolen: if you spend an hour writing, that hour is spent the same if someone buys your work, or nobody buys it, or you give it away free, or the government bans your writing and arrests you. I think you mean that you might have spent your time differently, if you’d known in advance how things were going to turn out, and that’s probably true. If I had back all the time I’d have spent differently, knowing what I know now, I’d be ten years old again.

    Your brain power has not literally been stolen; this is also obvious. Your brain is unaffected by others’ subsequent decision to read your work, or not read it, or buy it, or not buy it.

    Your “ability to make your time and brainpower pay you” is not something you own. I have certain training and skills, and luckily I get paid for using them. If nobody wanted to employ me, I haven’t lost anything that was actually mine; I don’t own a claim on someone else’s payroll funds. The way I get such a claim is to enter into an employment contract, which creates certain obligations in both directions.

    “My position is consistent: I am not a cow. My mind is not a cow’s teat. Anyone who expects creative people to go on producing endlessly, just so lazy, talentless sociopaths can grab our work without our consent…”

    Absolutely true. The question is whether copyright is a legitimate solution to that problem. Copyright is a law that allows others to be charged with a crime, arrested at gunpoint, and either imprisoned or expropriated. All of which is precisely what the doctor ordered for someone who picks my pocket, or steals my horse. The question is, is THAT the appropriate remedy for someone who “steals” my IDEAS? Or is that an inappropriate remedy, and we need to look for something else?

    There are thousands of potential “something elses.” Shakespeare made his money putting on his own plays; the plays themselves were in the public domain as soon as he set down his quill. Dickens made money in the US, at a time when there was no international copyright, in the form of large honorariums for his speaches. He also issued many of his books in England as serials, so that anyone who wanted to know “what happens next” was forced to buy the next chapter. Some (established) authors sold their books by advance subscription. Today “Harry Potter” books sold out before they were even published, and iPhones sell out before they’re shipped; I would certainly pre-order anything you wrote. Today some authors are selling self-published works at low prices, and profiting handsomely on volume–similar to the business model of the 19th Century “dime novels,” the “penny dreadfuls,” or the pulp magazines. The music industry is discovering that file sharing *improves* sales, by promoting the music; enough people want a quality CD, say, that once introduced through filesharing they will go out and buy one.

    Naturally, NDAs, non-copying agreements, and other contractual arrangements can be found, and are then legitimately enforceable at the point of a gun; other methods are probably preferable in that they defeat cheaters without actually needing to shoot (or sue) anyone.

    None of this adds up to “treating authors like a cow, and their brains like a teat.” It’s about profiting from one’s creativity without having recourse to government coercion.

    It’s hard to tell for sure, since you say you’re against copyrights, but it sounds as if you’ll accept coercion if you can think of no better way to ensure that you profit from your talents.

  43. Claire Says:

    “It’s hard to tell for sure, since you say you’re against copyrights, but it sounds as if you’ll accept coercion if you can think of no better way to ensure that you profit from your talents.”

    You’ve been misstating my position from your very first comment, and you’re misstating it again, so there’s no further point to this exchange.

    And while you clearly have theory up the wahzoo, you obviously don’t have enough real world experience to be credible. Go off and make your living as a writer or artist for a few years. Then come back we’ll talk some more.

  44. Claire Says:

    BTW, those of you who are coming in from anarchist, anti-IP — have you noticed the little symbol at the bottom of every article on that site?

    Since there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding going on around here, I’ll add that I admire Lew Rockwell and visit his site every day. I am not dissing him or anybody who works at his site for claiming copyright. To the contrary. But just as I do, Lew Rockwell lives in the real world.

    It’s also a laugh to think that any ordinary creative people have the slightest expectation that any government anywhere will swoop in and “protect” our work because of that little (c). Not only would none of us ask or expect any such thing, but in the REAL WORLD where some of you apparently don’t live, government protects only big copyright holders who have lots and lots of money and lots and lots of political pull.

    For the rest of us, the (c) is only a message sent and not always received.

  45. Jim Bovard Says:

    Maybe it is just a coincidence, but it seems that people who oppose copyright run very little risk of anyone re-using the words they wrote.

  46. Jim Bovard Says:

    Claire, your comment on the copyright notice at the bottom of anti-IP articles reminds me of the old quip about the ancient Roman stoic philosophers who wrote tracts about the folly of pursuing fame. The philosophers made sure their names were prominently displayed on such works….

  47. charlie Says:

    You know what the “real” reason is here – the used market that has sprung up in the last decade due to Ebay and Craigslist is killing the new retail business. So corporations are trying to use government force to outlaw the secondhand market. Before Ebay or Craigslist it was difficult to sell things. You had to pay to advertise in the newspaper, and only had local customers. With Ebay the world is your marketplace.

  48. Cleophus Says:

    To “Yank III,” I agree with you…in principle. However, I don’t think your argument will hold much water when the Stormtroopers, (otherwise known as your friendly neighborhood police swat team), busts in your door at two in the morning and pulls you and your oblivious wife, nearly naked,forcefully from your sleep and your bed, and then drag you kicking and screaming out into the cold, exposed night of your front yard where your neighbors will be gawking at you, and will, from now on, believe you are some sort of terrorist because the “po-lice” never make a mistake.
    Let’s face it, unless you live in an impregnable castle with 24 hour armed security, you are, absolutely, at the utter mercy of the armed civil authorities of your area. The Constitution won’t matter a hill of beans if the local authorities have their eye on your property and want to confiscate it. Your screwed. Yeah, sure you can put up a fight…….you’ll die, Guaranteed. And, yes, you can put up a legal battle, if you have a mountain of money to pay the legal fees; and again, it doesn’t matter that you have right on your side, you STILL have to pay the piper and I’ll guarantee you that the local government, and most assuredly the feds have MUCH deeper pockets than you do. The best think anyone can do is keep their mouth shut, don’t voice an opinion that is contrary to the views of the local constabulary, and don’t stand out politically in your community, or else you will, sooner or later, end up standing in your underpants, in front of your neighbors on a cold November night while the Stormtroopers grope your poor half dressed wife while she lays face down in the muddy yard. All because some neighbor said she heard “arguing.” There is no freedom. You have no rights.

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