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SCOTUS “first sale” ruling a big win for everyone but content publishers and software makers

Attorney Dana Newman on the implications of the Supreme Court ruling in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Kirtsaeng dba Bluechristine99 v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. yesterday, upholding the “first sale” doctrine in the case of copies of copyrighted materials lawfully made outside the United States. O’Reilly GM and publisher Joe Wikert (@jwikert) quoted from the majority decision in a post about his surprise at SCOTUS’ decision:

“Putting section numbers to the side, we ask whether the ‘first sale’ doctrine applies to protect a buyer or other lawful owner of a copy (of a copyrighted work) lawfully manufactured abroad. Can that buyer bring that copy into the United States (and sell it or give it away) without obtaining permission to do so from the copyright owner? Can, for example, someone who purchases, say at a used bookstore, a book printed abroad subsequently resell it without the copyright owner’s permission?

“In our view, the answers to these questions are, yes. We hold that the ‘first sale’ doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

I reached out to transactional and intellectual property attorney Dana Newman (@DanaNewman) to find out what the ruling means in the short term and what broader implications the decision might hold. Read more…