Defend Our Fundamental Right to a Free Market

Target: Supreme Court of the United States

Goal: Don’t outlaw the resale of imported goods

Since 1908, the American justice system has respected the first-sale doctrine in copyright law — permitting trade or re-sale of any item from a vintage coffee table to an unused iPod once it has been purchased. Unexpectedly  in August 2011, the doctrine was threatened by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that “first-sale” should not apply to any imported product.  Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley and Sons goes to the US Supreme Court for oral hearings October 29; our free market will crumble if the initial decision is upheld. As citizens, it is our duty to be knowledgeable and defend our rights.

Supap Kirtsaeng, a University of Southern California graduate student, bought and re-sold textbooks from Thailand  in order to raise money for tuition. Textbook trading and re-sale is common at colleges and even encouraged as a way to afford expensive materials semester after semester. Kirtsaeng owned the books he sold but the publisher sued for over fifteen times the amount earned and was awarded $600,000.

We must act now and urge the Supreme Court to refute the Second Circuit’s ruling. If the decision favors John Wiley and Sons, millions of individuals like Supap Kirtsaeng will be gravely affected. Auto trade-ins and re-resale will plummet (nearly half of US car manufacturers import parts from overseas), Craigslist and eBay will be shut down, and vintage shops, yard sales,  and flea markets will become illegal (McDurmon: 2012). Please sign the petition to protect our fundamental right to a free market.


Dear Supreme Court of the United States,

Amid the current political climate, it has been brought to my attention that a significant case has gone unnoticed in the media: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley and Sons. I understand that the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to commence oral arguments on October 29, 2012 and it is imperative that the people have our voice present.

If the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s initial decision is upheld, every citizen’s fundamental right to a free market will be compromised. Since 1908, our legal system has respected the first-sale doctrine in copyright law. The influx of re-sale and trade within our economy has been a savior for countless individuals and businesses. Craigslist and eBay are staples for millions of entrepreneurs; vintage shops, flea markets, and yard sales are not only lucrative but iconic.

The United States of America is a country that honors the hard work of its citizens. This should include, and always include, every citizen’s right to sell what he or she has earned and purchased. I urge our justice system to refute the ruling against Supap Kirtsaeng and protect our flourishing free market.


[Your Name Here]
photo credit: John Hawkins via DustinStocktonOnline

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