Monday, October 8, 2012

Do We Own Anything Anymore?

When we go to the store to buy something - let it be books, CDs, DVDs, computers; anything really - we go through the checkout counter and walk out the door now owning the things we legitimately purchased. The store wants money. We want goods. We therefore give over a set amount of money to the store in exchange for the goods we desire - it is a win-win situation.

The system is so perfect, defined by a mutual voluntary exchange between consenting adults, so the courts will undoubtedly have none of it! Now a case is before the Supreme Court that, if upheld, would force the public to get the copyright holder's permission to resell their own things that were made outside the country. 

Jennifer Waters explains:
Put simply, though Apple Inc. 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.


Ammori, for one, wonders what the impact would be to individual Supreme Court justices who may buy and sell things of their own. He himself once bought an antique desk from a Supreme Court justice. “Sometimes it’s impossible to tell where things have been manufactured,” he said. “Who doesn’t buy and sell things? Millions of Americans would be affected by this.” 

If the Supreme Court does rule with the appellate court, it’s likely that the matter would be brought to Congress to force a change in law. Until then, however, consumers would be stuck between a rock and a hard place when trying to resell their stuff.

Anybody who owns anything realizes how much stuff is made overseas - especially in China - and we should expect great implications if the Supreme Court rules with the appellate court. How many used music and movie stores will be hit hard by such a ruling? What about eBay, Craig's List or the secondary market through How will these businesses be affected? What about foreign cars? Will we need permission to resell our used foreign-made cars?

But the main question surrounding this story has to be: do we own anything anymore? Do property rights still exist in what is supposed to be a free society here in the United States of America? The system we live under now pivots on the grave misconception that our property is not personally owned but is merely on loan from the government. Most people would probably agree that the money they make at work is their money - they own it. However, the government taxes our income, our property, before we even see a dime; first taking from our paychecks and then granting the rest to us lowly citizenry. How can the government do this? It is not their money to take. Then citizens are required to pay the State simply for owning a home in the form of property taxes. How can the State justify collecting money from property that is legitimately owned by individual citizens? Now through the pending case, the Supreme Court may force people who want to sell their own stuff to first get permission from the copyright holder. Is there anything that we actually own anymore?

Some may answer, "well, the government needs to pay for certain services and laws have been created (by the government) that allows the government to take income or money on property to fund these services." However, the government was set up under the notion that it exists through the consent of the governed to protect the liberties and property of the people from those who would seek to take it away. How can the government carry out its designed duties when it is engaged in the very crooked activities that it is supposed to protect the people against?

No comments: