LJ executive editor Josh Hadro also took a crack at explaining First Sale in 1000 of the most commonly used words, but decided to go with a little bit of a more narrative treatment:
The Book-Sharing Places (which for sure have more than just books and have lots of other great things, though today we will call them Book-Places for short) for a long time have spent money on books and then shared those books all around to let other people work to make the world better at thinking and deciding on things. This sharing was an okay thing to do, because there are Important Words That Everyone Follows or Else that say it is okay.
But some people a little while ago said the Important Words (that everyone follows or else) that make the Book-Places able to share the books are not right. They said that if the books are made Over There instead of here, giving money for books does not mean what we think it means — it could mean that Book-Sharing Places can’t share the books the same way. Instead, they might have to pay more, or buy only books that are made right here, which is not very many books at all.
Everyone who thinks this is important went and told The People Who Pick the Important Words how they were feeling. The People Who Pick the Important Words listened a lot to everyone, and have been reading and thinking deep thoughts.
Soon, The People Who Pick the Important Words will decide who was right. The good news would be if the Book-Sharing Places could keep doing the sharing that they are good at doing.
The not-so-good news would be if book-sharing ideas get very hard to understand, and there are no clear new Important Words.
In that case, All the People Picked from All the States would have to decide, and they are not often good at deciding things that are important.
Keep paying attention! Important things are happening!
"Important things are happening!" is clearly the best line.