A most disturbing development has occurred.
The mobius loop – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle – is under attack.
Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether you have the right to sell your stuff on eBay. Do you really own the smartphone or computer you’re using to read this? If you sold your books, would you be breaking the law? A federal court in New York says you would be, even if you legally paid for and bought them.
It’s unbelievable, but trademark and copyright holders are trying to use a legal loophole to take away your right to sell things that you own. The mainstream media is starting to catch on, with the Wall Street Journal just running an article headlined, “YOUR RIGHT TO RESELL YOUR OWN STUFF IS IN PERIL”.
Public interest advocates are taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court, and Demand Progress is joining up with a coalition of groups — including many of those that came together to kill SOPA — to support the rights of ordinary Internet users and everyday consumers.
Once again, big entertainment company lobbyists are fighting us in the courts to ensure their profits are given higher priority than consumer rights. But this time the MPAA and RIAA have the Obama administration on their side — they’ve all filed legal briefs asking the Supreme Court to restrict our right to resell the things we own..
We only have a few weeks to make our voices heard before the Supreme Court makes a lasting ruling. We are working to defend a long-standing principle known as the “First-Sale Doctrine.” This common-sense rule gives us the right to sell most property we own, but big businesses have been trying to chip away at out our rights in the courts. If the Supreme Court supports the lower court’s decision, we won’t really “own” anything if any part of it was made in a different country. And practically anything you own — from your iPod to your house — could have been made abroad, in whole or in part.
If we lose this fight, practically anybody who wants to resell products they bought — from Macbooks and iPhones to our clothing and textbooks — will have to ask copyright holders for permission first. And they’ll have the right to deny it!
When you can’t reduce, reuse is next best option.
Reuse is a key part of addressing waste issues. Virtually no one can reduce consumption down to zero (reduce), so from a sustainability perspective, the next best approach is to reuse what you can no longer use. Often the industrial waste of one company can become raw materials for—or be reused by—another business. For example, hundreds of waste exchanges across the country (also called a materials exchange programs) provide a marketplace for the exchange of by-products or surplus goods that have a market value. I know of one food manufacturer that sells 1,000 used plastic buckets every month to a business that converts them into biohazard waste containers.
When you reuse something, you not only keep it out of the waste stream, but eliminate the need to produce another one. If this law get’s passed, everything from craigslist and ebay to commercial waste exchanges, will be at risk. We really cannot allow reuse to be outlawed. Act now!