Support the YODA bill!

This looks like a tremendously important bill!

“A bill introduced Sept. 18 would make clear that consumers actually owned the electronic devices, and any accompanying software on that device, that they purchased, according to sponsor Rep. Blake Farenthold’s (R-Texas).

The You Own Devices Act (H.R. 5586) would amend the Copyright Act “to provide that the first sale doctrine applies to any computer program that enables a machine or other product to operate.”

[taken from Own Your Own Devices You Will, Under Rep. Farenthold’s YODA Bill, by Tamlin Bason]

I just learned about YODA from reading the link via this   G+ post by Charles Hofacker.  The link points to the article

How an eBay bookseller defeated a publishing giant at the Supreme Court, at Ars Technica.

From this article:

Ted Olson stepped to the podium on behalf of Wiley and launched into an argument that Congress had amended the copyright law in 1976 in part to stop unauthorized importation of copyrighted works. Soon he began facing questions that put him on the defensive:

Justice Breyer: Now, under your reading…the millions of Americans who buy Toyotas could not resell them without getting the permission of the copyright holder of every item in that car which is copyrighted.

Olson seemed to have difficulty with the question, answering “that is not this case.” Justice Breyer continued to press:

Justice Breyer: Now, explain to me, because there are… millions of dollars’ worth of items with copyrighted indications of some kind in them that we import every year; libraries with three hundred million books bought from foreign publishers…; museums that buy Picassos… and they can’t display it without getting permission from the five heirs who are disputing ownership of the Picasso copyrights….

Again Olson tried to deflect the question, arguing that “we’re not talking about this case…” But Justice Anthony Kennedy wasn’t satisfied.

Justice Kennedy: You’re aware of the fact that if we write an opinion… with the rule that you propose, that we should, as a matter of common sense, ask about the consequences of that rule.

Olson countered that the “parade of horribles” was exaggerated. Justice Breyer observed wryly that “[s]ometimes horribles don’t occur because no one can believe it.”


With Justice Breyer authoring the majority opinion, the Court decided that the phrase “lawfully made under this title” wasn’t intended by Congress to impose a “geographical limitation.” Regarding market segmentation, the Court found no support for the notion that copyright “should include a right to divide markets or… to charge different purchasers different prices for the same book…”



Now you see why this is very very interesting.



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