This past week the United States Supreme Court decided a case that reinforced the right to re-sell something that you had lawfully bought. Now -- you might be wondering what's so earth shattering about that. \u00a0After all, hasn't that always been true? \u00a0You own an iPad and want to get a new tablet instead? \u00a0Just sell the old iPad or donate it or recycle it -- because it's yours and you can do what you want with it. \u00a0Bought a book and no longer need it? You sell that, too. Right? Here in the States we have something called the "first sale doctrine." It simply means that once a tangible copyrighted work (or something with copyright in it) is sold lawfully the first time, the original copyright owner no longer has rights over the physical item. After that, the buyer can do whatever he or she wants with it -- sell it again, donate it, whatever. \u00a0That's why you can legally hold a yard sale or sell computers on eBay. The resale right applies only to the physical item sold, not copies. Most of us take resale rights for granted. But that right to resell copyrighted items had been challenged in court. \u00a0The Supreme Court's decision this week reaffirmed that owners have resale rights, as Daniel Fisher writes in Forbes: The U.S. Supreme Court today settled a long-simmering debate over the Copyright Act by holding that publishers can\u2019t prevent the resale of books they produce overseas in U.S. markets. The decision in\u00a0Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons\u00a0is a victory for Supap Kirtsaeng, a student who was fined $600,000 for importing Wiley textbooks from his native\u00a0Thailand, where they were cheaper, and selling them in the U.S. It\u2019s also a victory for libraries and retailers like eBay, who argued the \u201cfirst sale\u201d doctrine \u2014 giving owners of published books and recordings the right to sell them to whomever they want \u2014 should apply to imported works as well as U.S. publications. The lawsuit related specifically to U.S. copyrighted items manufactured outside the United States, but re-sold or disposed of inside the U.S. The\u00a0Owners' Rights Initiative\u00a0hailed the decision as a victory for individuals, organizations and businesses. \u00a0The Initiative is an advocacy group founded to protect owner's rights to buy and sell authentic goods. Their motto is: "You bought it. You own it. You have a right to resell it."\u00a0(Image above) The Owner's Rights Initiative says you should be permitted to resell something you've legitimately purchased, no matter where it was manufactured. \u00a0While the court's decision puts to rest one attack on resale rights, the group believes \u00a0there could be other legal attacks in the future. \u00a0Said Lauren Perez of the American Free Trade Association, in a video on the Owner's Rights site: If you buy it you own it. If you paid for it, it's yours. You shouldn't have to go ask permission of anybody to resell it. \u00a0You shouldn't have to worry about being sued for copyright infringement because the original copyright owner or manufacturer doesn't like you being the person reselling it... doesn't want you to realize a profit from your original investment. The Owner's Rights Initiative is backed by groups \u00a0like eBay, Etsy, Overstock, the\u00a0American Library Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, and even the popular used/out-of-print bookseller Powell's Books. Below is the Supreme Court's decision (only the 4-page summary, also known as a syllabus): Image credit: Owner's Rights Initiative This article was updated to clarify that resale rights do not apply to copies illegally made of a copyrighted item.