Tod Cohen Discusses Ownership Rights on eBay Radio

September 17, 2014

Yesterday, Tod Cohen, Vice President of eBay Inc.’s Global Government Relations team, spoke about the importance of protecting owners’ rights and the Owners’ Rights Initiative on eBay Radio.  In recent years, there have been attempts to restrict the ability of individuals to resell items that they have legitimately purchased.  In 2013, the Supreme Court took up a case where a graduate student named Supap Kirtsaeng bought fully authentic textbooks through friends and family in Thailand and sold them in the U.S. on eBay. He was sued by the book publisher, who claimed that copyright law barred his sales because the books were made in Thailand and he didn’t have the publisher’s permission to sell them. Kirtsaeng claimed that he was the lawful owner of those books since he had paid full price for them in Thailand, and he could now do with them what he wished.  The lower courts ruled against Kirtsaeng, and the case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. 

Due to the efforts of groups like the Owners’ Rights Initiative and companies like eBay, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 opinion that ensures that books and other copyright goods that are made overseas can be sold in the United States without the permission of the copyright holder.  “This case is incredibly important for people to be able to resell the items that they purchase wherever they purchase around the world,” said Cohen.  “It makes sure that we can take advantage of the global Internet and not be limited to only buying and selling items around our own home.”

Although the Supreme Court ruling was favorable to eBay sellers, there are still efforts to limit the ability of individuals to sell online.  To learn more about these efforts and what this means for you, please click here and tune into eBay Radio.