Total off-topic rant on recent SCOTUS decision

Of course…while I say it’s off topic, it did just dawn on me that this decision could potentially affect the sale of used imported firearms. Technically, this decision could prevent the sale of any used imported firearms.  I seriously doubt that would happen. But well, I seriously doubted a woman who spilled coffee on herself with win McDonald’s $1 million Monopoly prize.

Gray Market – a term describing the importation of products manufactured in foreign lands by means not officially sanctioned by the manufacturer.
(ie: Camera is made and sold in Korea. For all intensive purposes, it’s identical to the one sold in the U.S.  An individual in Korea buys a 100 and ships him to his brother’s shop in NYC. They’re sold as a discount. Often manufacturers do not provide warranty coverage for such products.)

Frankly, as long as they a) bought the item and b) paid any customs fees or import duties.  Then it should be legal.
The only issue should be if one of the above is untrue, and in which case, it should be pursued by those legal channels.
A company might not recognize or warranty the item, that is up to their warranty policy, and that is fair IMHO. But that’s all a company should be able to do.

So what’s the problem?
Essentially, Costco imported a bunch of watches that they were going to sell at below MSRP. No problem there in my book.
The watch manufacturer sued. A defense of first sale was made. Which is basically, once I buy something – I own it. And I can do what I damn well please with it. (ie: If I buy a car from Ford, Ford has no right to say whether I can sell that car to someone else or not).
Well, this is pretty much established law in the U.S., but our conniving legislating judicial system decided to find a way around this and aid the even more conniving copyright cartel. They decided that our law only applies to items manufactured in the U.S.
There are a few problems with that interpretation:
1) An item is an item, it’s creation point should not enact different legislation. To put it simply, if I make a widget in PA and the same widget in RI. Different laws should not apply due solely to location.
2) In an America that is increasingly NOT manufacturing, this poses a greater influence. Probably 98% of products come from foreign lands. Think that’s crazy, realize we don’t manufacturer transisters in the U.S. anymore. So any electronic device has a foreign component.  So essentially, this could end the resale of any products in the U.S.
3) What few manufacturing jobs we have left will be inclined to move out of the U.S.  Why not? If I make a bicycle in the U.S., you can buy it and sell it used.  But if I make it in China, I can claim copyrights, and you can’t sell that bicycle at your yard sale unless you pay me $$$. Essentially, we can take away the price gap between new and used, so that you’ll just buy a new one anyways.
Granted….a lot of this is all “slippery slope”, but in life, I’ve come to believe that the “slippery slope” is NOT a fallacy, but a fact of life.  Take copyrights in general, it was said they were originally too short. So a few years were added, then a few more. People exclaimed that we were headed toward perpetual copyrights – and were dismissed as ludicrous. A 100 yrs later, and they’re pretty much right on.

All this over some watches that Costco imported…
Oh yes, so what is actually involved here is not even the watch. But the fact that the company printed a logo (their logo being copyrighted).  So for those thinking this would only apply to copyrighted items – you forget ya. This can be applied to anything. Take a Ford Taurus…oops, the Ford logo is copyrighted.  So basically ANYTHING with a logo can now have this protection applied.
And how ludicrous is the opinion that the first sale (based on a fairly long practice of common law for several thousand years) doesn’t apply to foriegn goods. I guess the Bill of Rights should not apply to foreignors who become U.S. citizens.

This goes back to my point that America is royally screwed up because we have a legal system rather than a judicial system. Rather, our laws are always about the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. If one can find a flaw in the wording, and a different way to read those words, then they can make a case.
“Lead, Follow, or get out of the way”
Really, that was a murder threat because it is well known that lead is the primary substance used in the bullets of guns.


Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 12:03 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good writeup. I’d be interested to see which justices were on which side of the 4-4 split. Our logo-obsessed culture is definitely on the path of reductio ad absurdium.

    The McDonald’s coffee case is not quite as cut and dried as popular culture has made it. Here’s a good factual rundown of what went on there:

  2. I too would like to know how the justices voted. I have not been able to find it anywhere. Where is extremely frustrating.

    As for McDonald’s. A lot of people, especially late night drivers liked the temperature because once it was placed in a thermos it remained warm.

    But I am still of the opinion one should a) not mess with hot coffee between your legs, b) hold such beverages off to the side when working with them.

    That’s pretty much what I’ve always done with such beverages.

    I always look at first cause. What situation created the incident. In my opinion, the hot coffee did not create the incident. Millions got the coffee and never had an issue. So the issue of cause was poor handling. And I still hold to that.

  3. Same reason if I slip and fall on ice, I won’t sue. I was walking, on ice, I should be aware. If I slipped, I consider it my own failing. Not the fact that a business didn’t lay ice or shovel (or maybe they did twice already but the storm was too great). No I fell, keyword “I”.

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