What is Perfectly Legal to Give Away for Free, but Illegal to Sell?

George Carlin sez, about prostitution, that it shouldn’t be illegal to sell something that’s perfectly legal to give away for free. :: rimshot ::

However, in addition to sex, it’s perfectly legal to give away for free, but not sell,
[li] Babies[/li][li] Organs & Tissues[/li][li] Blood[/li][/ul]

What else?

Conversely, is there anything that is perfectly legal to sell, but illegal to give away? The only thing that comes to my mind is prescription narcotics. Drug reps come to my social services agency and hand out free samples of psychotropics (Zyprexa, Risperdal, etc.) left and right, but they never give away the good stuff (Percocet, Demerol, etc.).

Anything else?

Any kind of “freeware” computer software can be given away but not sold.

Is there is distinction for blood plasma? Lots of people sell that. Granted, they give the uncollected portions of the blood back to you, so maybe that’s the loophole?

Homebrewed beer. Homemade wine.

In the state of Minnesota, a decapitated cow’s head, apparently.

Game meat in most states, you can give away venison, but not sell it. Some allow you to sell hides.

In some states if you don’t have a liquor license, you can give it away but not sell it. Many restaurants give beer away if they haven’t yet received their liquor license.

How about your vote?



You can sell insurance, but you can’t give coverage for free. (Yeah, I’m a member of bean counters ananymous)
Food stamps I think are illegal to sell

Nothing. Literally. To fool someone into giving you money for nothing is fraudulent and illegal, but to simply not give them anything is, while a bit silly, perfectly lawful.

Copyrighted material, I should think. No one can prosecute your for making a “Vash the Stampede” poster, but you can’t sell them without permission.

Your work (time), if you’re in the country on a non-work visa. (Some exceptions do apply, e.g. on-campus jobs if you’re on a student visa.)

Businesses that have lost their liquor license may still give away alcohol but they aren’t allowed to charge you for it.

There was a burger joint in Dallas (off Industrial Blvd) where this was the norm. It was cheaper for them to give away beer than to pay all these fees to stop their distributors while they waited for the license problem to clear up.
Buy-one-get-one-free cigarettes: It’s illegal for the store owner to split them apart and charge for the 2nd pack separately. (Although the store by my house does anyway).

Oh fer criminy. Now I really feel used.

In line with Smiling Bandit, I believe that I can sing copyrighted songs (written by others) to you all day for free, completely legally, but can’t charge you for it.

You can play those songs at free shows too, but not if you charge at the door…technically

But we still are forced to listen to you sing!! :wink:

I don’t believe this is correct. Whether money is involved or not does not affect copyright law. (Well, there are exceptions, but a blanket statement that just because you’re not making money off of it, you’re not breaking the law, is legally incorrect.)

That’s not true at all. There is nothing to prevent me from creating a license to give away software I write while not forbidding someone else to sell it. Pointless, yes, but still legal. The GPL is a real-world example. That license does not prevent me from (attempting) to sell copies of the Linux kernel for profit, though anyone foolish enough to buy it from me can go on to redistribute it for free. It’s all about what the copyright holder wants.

That would be because the, as you put it, “good stuff,” is cheap and doesn’t bring in the big bucks that newly developed drugs do.
BTW, blood is sold… to the patient. Also, in some parts of the US blood donors are paid.
Anything labeled as a Sample may not be sold.