About Owners’ Rights

What does “owners’ rights” mean?
The concept of owners’ rights is the guarantee that if you bought it, you own it. This is a fundamental right that is critical to global commerce. Owners’ rights ensure that legitimate goods can be resold, lent or given away however the owner desires.

Why should I care about owners’ rights?
Owners’ rights matter to anyone who has ever bought a good from a retailer or wholesaler, rented a book or movie, donated an item to charity, or resold his/her personal property. In short, owners’ rights impacts everyone. Without them, consumers will never actually own many of the products that they buy, if the products were manufactured overseas or have components that were manufactured overseas. Imagine if you were not allowed to sell your old smartphone or you could be penalized for donating a toy to Goodwill, simply because the item was made outside the U.S.?

Eroding ownership rights would limit consumer choices and restrict their ability to comparison shop from different vendors. American consumers could lose access to affordable used copies of products. With less competition, manufacturers could impose higher costs and consumers could pay more for everyday items purchased online.

About the Owners’ Rights Initiative

What is ORI and what does the coalition aim to achieve?
ORI is a diverse coalition of businesses, associations and organizations that have joined together to protect ownership rights around the world. ORI members are concerned about manufacturers who use the power to erode owners rights and foreign laws that limit the free alienability of your property. We aim to ensure that if you bought it, you own it, and should have the right to sell, lend or give away your personal property. That’s why our coalition provides a unified voice for members to engage in advocacy, education and outreach around this fundamental right.

Who belongs to ORI?
ORI represents a diverse coalition of stakeholders including small businesses, major retailers, consumers, internet companies, libraries, wholesalers and anyone who relies on goods that are not purchased directly from a manufacturer. You can see our full membership list here.  If you’d like to join ORI, please contact us.

What is ORI currently doing to support owners’ rights?
ORI aims to ensure that you have the right to sell, lend or give away your personal property. We are engaging with policymakers, media outlets and the broader public to raise awareness about, and garner support for, owners’ rights.

How can I get involved and support ownership rights?
There are several ways that you can support our cause:

  • If you are a business owner, company executive or association leader and are interested in becoming a member, contact us through our website or email ORI executive director Andrew Shore at ashore@ownersrightsinitiative.org.
  • If you are an individual who believes that Americans should have the fundamental right to resell, lend or give away the goods that they own, show your support by signing the Citizens’ Petition for Ownership Rights, a petition created by public interest groups that care about this issue too.

How can I stay informed about developments in owners’ rights?
To stay up to date on new developments in owners’ rights sign up here for our newsletter here.