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Author Topic: Selling/buying used equipment (LONG)...  (Read 5131 times)
KF7GTU
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Posts: 36




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« on: October 08, 2012, 09:48:07 AM »

I think it is vital that all of us recognize the potential importance of this situation, so I am offering this to the eHam folks in the Misc. forum. It is a long post, but I feel it will directly influence HAM radio and our way of life.

Please forgive me if there is a more appropriate place for this. I am posting a message I emailed to many folks this morning, in the interest of education.



Hello HAM brothers and sisters...

I am going to expound for a time on a developing situation I discovered this morning; one which may affect much of the amateur radio landscape. In fact, it could alter many of our day to day experiences both related to and unrelated to amateur radio.

Before I do, let me give you a few "disclaimers". First, I do not have a direct financial dog in this fight (that is, I do not derive a significant source of income in this situation). Second, I am aware that there are many international amateur operators on this list and I suggest that they do not really need to see this, they can skip over this unless they desire to continue reading on. Third, this post, though deeply steeped in the law and politics of the United States, is not intended to be partisan and directly affects all amateur operators, regardless of political affiliation.

One more thought... I'd imagine that this could erupt some sort of flame war on this list. I will respectfully ask that any of you with strong feelings about this issue email me directly off list (kf7gtu@tidelink.net) and I will try to keep everyone who sends me an email in the loop on direct responses. Of course, you folks are free to communicate as you see fit, including forwarding this brief to family, friends and other amateur operators. This could impact the vast majority of folks in our United States.

Some of you may have already seen what I am going to describe. I am going to try to keep it succinct. However, I wanted to share my own experience, which is something that I believe most HAM folks encounter in their life.

As time goes by I have noticed a fracturing of our society, and in fact, our world. It is difficult, if not impossible, to ignore the increasing rift between human beings in many places on this planet. One of the very few places that I have not seen a growth in this rift is the amateur radio community. Yes, there are little spats from time to time between operators. Sometimes we forget to be as thoughtful and patient as we should be. However, the old adage, "the ties that bind" truly does apply to most HAM's out there. There are a few attributes that the overwhelming majority of operators -- that I have met and interacted with -- have shared. Conscientious, considerate, prepared, involved, observant, and downright near genius (or exceeding in genius, as many consider themselves!) all come to mind. Another wonderful trait that many, many of our group share is kindness.

When I first got involved in amateur radio, I like many others, bought a second hand used rig. Think about that. How many of you do not have something in your collection that came as a direct result of another amateur operator giving you an excellent deal on something you needed/wanted to begin using that new shiny license? Sometimes we were even given gifts, items that came free of charge, because a thoughtful HAM knew we would need it or find it to be handy. One of the vertebrae of the activity known as amateur radio is thrifty operating principal and practice. Many of us take it to the extreme, but all operators that are capable of doing so should be attempting to repair their broken equipment, educate another operator or improve this activity in any way they can. It is not solely about the number or quality of our QSO's, it is about helping others reach that same plateau of quantity and quality. It is about learning and educating. It is about building goodwill and assisting others.

Your opportunity to purchase used equipment (or even be the recipient of free equipment) could be in great peril. Before you guffaw and assume that this is crazy talk that could not possibly be true, I want to make you aware of something hitting the U.S. Supreme Court late this month (October 2012). It regards something called the "first-sale doctrine" and if things continue as they have been going thus far, you will likely find it very difficult to buy or sell any second hand items without sweeping changes to our nations laws.

The main gist is this: the doctrine of first-sale copyright allows a manufacturer to have control only over the first sale of a physical item. If that item is purchased by an individual, that individual is then allowed and entitled to resell/provide that same item to anyone else at any cost (or no cost) without any responsibility to the manufacturer. This could, and I am serious here folks, be changed before we know it. It is possible that any item that we purchase can not be resold without passing a portion of that sale onto the manufacturer. And, it is possible that a manufacturer may choose to outlaw any future sales at all.

Let me give you a couple of real life examples detailing what this may mean to you. Imagine visiting with a fellow HAM at their home. They are showing you their new radio purchase. You two are enjoying the discussion and eventually he tells you that he no longer needs his old radio (since he already has 4 spares! Smiley ) and he is looking to part with it for the right price. You discover that the radio he is selling is something you would be interested in and that the price is right. You hand over the cash and take his old, currently unused radio. You are glad for the purchase because it just gave you something worthwhile and you paid a fair price for it. That will cease to occur.

Another example is more stark. No more HAMfest or swap & sell gatherings. The overwhelming majority of amateur operators appear and enjoy these sales and for many it is due to finding great deals on used equipment and/or parts while chatting with friends and colleagues. How many of us have not found an excellent deal on a roll of RG-58 or a dirty old microphone we really needed to have and didn't mind cleaning up and putting back into production? That experience would suddenly become illegal.

There are very, very few examples of purchasable items that do not contain some components that are derived from the "global economy". Think about it. Coffee makers, automobiles, handheld HT's, books, programming cables, pencils, etc. the list goes on and on. You may not be able to sell these items free of royalty or reporting responsibility to the original manufacturer in the very near future.This will make waves with any person inside or outside of the amateur radio operating community. However, I consider it to be a more insidious blow to our way of life than to some others.

Some of you might be thinking that I am imagining this situation or assuming that I am an alertist attempting to cause disruption. However, I will pass along an example of a news article which you can read for yourself and decide if this situation is as dire as it could be:

http://www.marketwatch.com/Story/story/print?guid=AEC86DBA-0DA1-11E2-AC22-002128049AD6

I wanted to send along this QST to all fellow domestic U.S. operators and encourage you to educate your friends, families and fellow operators in kind. Keep an eye on this folks.

In my compiling of this email I have attempted to adhere to the amateur operators creed. How many of you know the amateur operators creed? I will paste it below:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The Radio Amateur is:

Considerate…never knowingly uses the air in such a way to lesson the pleasure of others.

Loyal…offers loyalty, encouragement and support to their fellow radio amateurs, their local radio club, and to the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio is represented.

Progressive…with knowledge abreast of science. It is well-built and efficient. Operating practice is above reproach.

Friendly…slow and patient sending when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the  interests of others. These are marks of the amateur spirit.

Balanced…radio is their hobby. They never allow it to interfere with any of the duties they owe to their home, job, church, school, or community.

Patriotic…their knowledge and their station are always ready for the service of his country and their community/

Who wrote the Amateur’s Creed?

The Amateur Creed was composed in 1928 by Paul M. Segal – then 9EEA in Denver, and General Counsel of the ARRL. The creed has been updated a few times over the intervening years, to update the text and put it into contemporary terms.

The Amateur’s Creed appears in a number of ARRL publications such as the Handbook, and is just as valid today as it has been for nearly 70 years.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++


73 folks...

Jason
KF7GTU
Bandon, Oregon
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KB3HG
Member

Posts: 404




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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 10:17:35 AM »

Interesting, Now if they get a percentage there are costs involved handling fees that could exceed their cut. The article refers to family heirlooms. Jewelry ? Really and whom manufactured it? where's the copyright? Furniture? I can see many other things but what about grandfathered rights? Companies could not keep up with the paperwork. Sounds like a government scheme to really foul up the system. Sorta of like the incoming healthcare.
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KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 341




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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 10:43:15 AM »

I've been following this for a while, and it seems that it all started with college textbooks. Virtually the same text is vastly more expensive in the US than in some other countries. This is the case for a lot of things-some of you may remember the Kaito KA1102 SW radio, this radio was around $120 from Universal Radio but only $55 on Ebay, as the Chinese domestic Degen DE1102. Some of you may remember "Liypn", a big seller of the Degen version of the radio, who was undercutting Degen by selling 1102's to Americans. Anyway, some entrepreneurs have been buying foreign college textbooks in bulk and selling them to American students over the net. The textbook printers are losing loads of cash. Instead of admitting defeat and lowering prices, they are seeking to outlaw this sort of reselling. Their law is too broad, however, and bans ALL secondhand sales. I don't think that the SCOTUS is stupid enough to force an end to all secondhand sales.
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KD0REQ
Member

Posts: 856




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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 11:31:58 AM »

the whole thing is idiotic, and my take on it is that upfront pricing is a combination of present utility of a good, and residual value of a good.  if the sharks make it impossible to resell, say, a biology text, then the residual value is ZERO.  on a car, that's called blue-book trade-in value.

if the residual value is ZERO, then the upfront price is considerably less than what they want for the item all of a sudden.  so your $200 textbook is better priced to the market as $50.

they're not going to issue the book for 50, and we dammed sure are not paying 200 for the item for several months.

so the sharks will end up chapter-7 by their own hand.  which is probably all for the best, since we have ourselves The Connected Internet for our information.

prove me wrong.
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KF7GTU
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Posts: 36




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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2012, 12:36:23 PM »

I am simply hoping that all of us will continue to enjoy one of the few things left in life that can have redeeming value without politicians and corrupt individuals taking it from us.

I'm a big thrift store shopper and enjoy a great yard sale, just like the next guy. Could you imagine these activities being made into a crime? Could you ever imagine living in a society where selling something used to another person is prohibited or so bothersome to not make it worth it?

I just purchased a Cushcraft beam antenna for pennies on the dollar. It was something I needed and, like so many others nowadays, I find myself just short of rolling in the dough.  Roll Eyes The seller got what he wanted, I got what I wanted, and we saved something from the landfill or a worthless existence in some storage unit somewhere, deteriorating.

Here's to keeping at least some of the liberties that made this country the most precious place in the world to live.

Rant over... 73 folks...

Jason
KF7GTU
Bandon, Oregon
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AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1236




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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2012, 12:55:04 PM »

I don't THINK "copyright" applies to manufactured goods--only to books, poetry, photography, etc.

I agree it is concerning, but I don't think it's going to apply in this case.   My radio may have several patents protecting it but I don't think it is copyrighted.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12679




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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2012, 02:12:35 PM »

The firmware in the processor chips in your radio may very well be copyrighted.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 02:20:31 PM »

What do you call a hundred lawyers who drowned in a shipwreck?

"A good start." Cheesy
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AG6WT
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Posts: 438




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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 02:41:49 PM »

I don't THINK "copyright" applies to manufactured goods--only to books, poetry, photography, etc.

I agree it is concerning, but I don't think it's going to apply in this case.   My radio may have several patents protecting it but I don't think it is copyrighted.

As technology evolves, most rigs will now have user upgradeable firmware or will require an external program to use it (e.g. Flex radios).

And even if the proposed law doesn't apply to typical ham equipment, the restrictions could put a serious impediment to second hand on-line sales. Imagine the costs eHam.net and qth.com would have to bear if they were required to screen their classified posting for infringements.
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WN2C
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Posts: 429




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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 11:03:13 AM »

OK, but who is going to be policing it? Are there going to be copyright cops hired or do you just turn in your neighbor for a reward? Maybe that's how they are going to create jobs. And what happens if you just trade this for that or barter an item. Are you telling me I can't do that either?
Oh...the law of unintended consequences......I can see this affecting just about every thing if these nitwits, nowits and halfwits have there way.

But seriously, I do believe that this is just for the importation of coyrighted material that is published outside of the U.S. where the U.S. owner does not own the copyright outside of the U.S. You know that a lot of stuff has been coming in from China that is just copyright infringed (music, software ...etc.) and the U.S. government has been complaining to them about it and the Chinese are finally (at least seemingly) doing something about it. Not saying it is all coming from China but...

de wn2c Rick
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W5DQ
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 01:52:00 PM »

Quote
Let me give you a couple of real life examples detailing what this may mean to you. Imagine visiting with a fellow HAM at their home. They are showing you their new radio purchase. You two are enjoying the discussion and eventually he tells you that he no longer needs his old radio (since he already has 4 spares!  ) and he is looking to part with it for the right price. You discover that the radio he is selling is something you would be interested in and that the price is right. You hand over the cash and take his old, currently unused radio. You are glad for the purchase because it just gave you something worthwhile and you paid a fair price for it. That will cease to occur.

I hardly think so. Just because someone says that they can control sales and trades between individuals, doesn't mean they can control sales and trades between individuals. Look at private gun sales. Sure, legally you are supposed to register any and all (well most at least) firearm sales between individuals yet how many people do you think trade firearms daily in this country between individuals in homes and back alleys. Sure, by the letter of the law doing so is illegal yet it happens all the time and no one is the wiser .... until some instance causes the new owner to be known and it doesn't match existing records.

As to a radio changing hands - how is anyone going to be able to tell my newly acquired FT-5000 bought AND REGISTERED from that of Joe Blow Ham's privately traded FT-5000 when we both transmit over the air. No way to tell unless the manufacturers start installing some sort of un-modifable sub-audio ID system - highly doubtful!! And how is anyone going to find out unless I or someone else notifies the 'controlling organization' that a private trade has occured. This sounds much akin to the 'internet hoax' sent around every once in a while regarding the taxing of emails by the US Postal Service by charging 5, 10, 20 cents, whatever for each email sent.

Like I told my sister-in-law when she received this and freaked out. If you take the number of emails sent each day via the internet, how is the USPS going to monitor and bill people for each email. It would require each ISP to monitor their email servers and pass info to the USPS on emails sent daily, weekly, etc. and then the USPS has to come up with some way to process this MOUNTAIN of data and individually bill people for the emails sent. Think of the processing power overhead and the logistic nightmare to handle all this. How are they going to do this when they can't even manage to process the paper mail being sent using the given budget they have each year.

My friend, methinks you've fallen prey to a 'the sky is falling' hoax!!
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
KA5IPF
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« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 03:22:56 PM »

You need to study gun laws. In the left coast registering gun sales between individuals may be required but not in the rest of the world, especially Texas.

Clif
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KB4QAA
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Posts: 2269




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« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2012, 03:33:21 PM »

"The sky is falling" cried Henny Penny and Turkey Lurkey!

The case in question bears no relationship to the average citizen and private sales.

The plaintiff as a commercial enterprise was acting as an unauthorized distributor of the textbooks; importing them into the US without authorization and competing against the manufacturer's established network.    He is going to lose.

This will have no bearing on private sales of anything.  Don't panic.  All is well.
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KA1BIN
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2012, 07:14:34 PM »

The firmware in the processor chips in your radio may very well be copyrighted.


Then I believe that the First Sale doctrine (as it stands now) would still apply.
I, as a private person legally buy one of this item that has copyrighted firmware, and if and when I choose,
I, as a private person can sell the same One item with the copyrighted firmware for any amount that I please.
I can also give it away. If I, decide to buy 3 pieces, I can sell 3 pieces as a private person.

The First Sale doctrine was never intended to stop the sales of a private person who has legally obtained
the copyrighted item in question.

Steve
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 341




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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2012, 08:56:39 PM »

"The sky is falling" cried Henny Penny and Turkey Lurkey!

The case in question bears no relationship to the average citizen and private sales.

The plaintiff as a commercial enterprise was acting as an unauthorized distributor of the textbooks; importing them into the US without authorization and competing against the manufacturer's established network.    He is going to lose.

This will have no bearing on private sales of anything.  Don't panic.  All is well.

I suspect that the person in question, or his supporters, has been spreading this around in the hopes that SCOTUS will be deluged with letters in support of his cause. No law makes it legal to violate copyright by importing NEW material into the US from abroad, then selling that material for a substantial markup from what the person paid overseas, thus denying profits to the copyright holder. The textbook companies simply want the law to be clarified. I think that the plaintiff KNOWS he will lose, and hopes to try the case in the court of public opinion by screaming that the sky is falling. The problem is, as the Shergold family found out, that once you toss stuff like this into the internet, it NEVER goes away. 20 years from now we'll still be reading email regarding this. Remember the old saw that Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the famous atheist, was trying to get the FCC to "outlaw Christian broadcasting"? That was based on a FCC rulemaking request from the *1970s*! Yet it's on the Snopes Top 25. O'Hair's name was changed to Obama. The FCC received permission years ago to throw out all "RM-2439" letters. The case was decided 35 years ago, yet the alerts refuse to die. The Shergold family is still getting deluged with cards, 25 years after Craig recovered. The plaintiff in this case should be subject to contempt of court charges.
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