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First Sale Doctrine in Copyright

There is an interesting case currently being heard regarding the First Sale doctrine in Copyright and its implications with respect to foreign sales. The First Sale doctrine states that when a copyright holder makes a sale of a copy of a work, that sale cuts off all of the copyright holders’ rights to that copy. This is why a library can lend out a book it owns, because the copyright holder has no rights in the copy. Likewise, sale of used books.

This article illustrates some of the ways that copyright holders are trying to evade the First Sale doctrine.

Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons case at the Supreme Court is about the interaction of the copyright holders’ right to control importation of a copyright work and the First Sale doctrine.

Posted in Intellectual Property.