The Things You Think You Own ... But Don't!

10/09/2012 09:57


You just can’t make this stuff up.  Did you know that a Federal Court in New York has determined that the “first-sale doctrine” should be overturned … and has done so.


From Wikipedia we get … The first-sale doctrine plays an important role in copyright and trademark law by limiting certain rights of a copyright or trademark owner. The doctrine enables the distribution chain of copyrighted products, library lending, gifting, video rentals and secondary markets for copyrighted works (for example, enabling individuals to sell their legally purchased books or CDs to others). In trademark law, this same doctrine enables reselling of trademarked products after the trademark holder put the products on the market. The doctrine is also referred to as the "right of first sale," "first sale rule," or "exhaustion rule."

Now the federal court says that if said products were made overseas … their copyrights/trademarks should supersede the rights we have here in the USA.  So, theoretically, to resell any consumer goods with any parts made overseas (as in garage sale or moving sale; as in, used cars, TV sets, computers, etc) you would first need to get the permission of the overseas copyrights/trademarks holder.

If the corporate interests that started this whole thing can pull it off … it would mean most manufacturers would have a major incentive to move production overseas (there goes our jobs again).  Why?  So they would be able to extend their supposed rights and claim new profit centers.  You have to know, once this new law is in place, they would never let you sell such products without charging you a percentage of the resale.

Consider the difficulty of even knowing what foreign company might have parts in your computer/TV/refrigerator/stove/car/whatever.  And how long would it take to find out … and then get a permissive reply (and charge statement)?  Would they charge for estimates of what you might owe on a resale?

Another possible outcome … people wouldn’t bother to contact overseas manufacturers.  So our overloaded landfills would have an incredible influx of trash that no one wants to pay “resale-fees” on.

I have a better idea.  Let’s make all products the property of the original manufacturers and just pay them a monthly usage fee.  When the useful life of any consumer goods was reached … or if the user simply tired of it … that product would automatically be returned to the manufacturer.  It would be their lawful requirement to reprocess/recycle or dispose of it.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to police the proper disposal of goods when we only had to keep an eye on a few manufacturers rather than billions of consumers?

Do you suppose manufacturers would make products that would last longer, have more features, and be easier to recycle?  Do you suppose it would take a considerable burden off our landfills when manufacturers were required to recycle everything?

Hey … if they want all this ownership control … let’s give it to them!  If they want to make sure they always have their copyright/trademark rights … let’s force them to be responsible for what they make.

Has it occurred to anyone that the incredible cost to our ecosystems from “resource extraction” (see Wikipedia) and landfill overburdens is a COST FACTOR that the corporations have been passing on the consumer, to the public, and to our governments for hundreds of years?  Has it occurred to anyone that this is just one way the corporations have to enhance their profits … by passing disposal costs along to someone else (even for the things they make that are incredibly toxic)?

In a curious reversal … if you buy something they claim they have “rights” to and then try to resell it … they want to be paid.  But if you just throw the stuff away … they want to wash their hands of it.  If their rights extend beyond that first sale why wouldn’t the responsibility for “creating and disposing of it” extend beyond the first sale?  You can’t have it both ways!  And if something they created turned out to be toxic and polluted the air/water/soil … or somehow harmed any living species … shouldn’t their responsibilities reach to that level too? 

If they want their rights … I say let them have those rights … and ALL THE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT GO WITH IT, TOO!

When I’m elected KING … I will make it so!