Court Sides With Student on Textbook Copyright
Publisher loses case at Supreme Court over resales
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 19, 2013 5:56 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The Supreme Court ruled today that textbooks and other goods made and sold abroad can be re-sold online and in discount stores without violating US copyright law. The outcome was a huge relief to eBay, Costco, and other businesses that trade in products made outside the US. In a 6-3 opinion, the court threw out a copyright infringement award to publisher John Wiley & Sons against Thai graduate student Supap Kirtsaeng, who used eBay to resell copies of the publisher's copyrighted books that his relatives first bought abroad at cut-rate prices.

Justice Stephen Breyer said in his opinion for the court that once goods are sold lawfully, whether in the US or elsewhere, publishers and manufacturers lose the protection of US copyright law. "We hold that the `first sale' doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad," Breyer said. Had the court come out the other way, it would have crimped the sale of many goods sold online and in discount stores, and it would have complicated the tasks of museums and libraries that contain works produced outside the United States, Breyer said. The movie and music businesses, software makers, and other manufacturers worry that the decision allows unauthorized sales to undercut their businesses.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
HerrFridlund
Aug 25, 2013 9:55 AM CDT
Hello everyone in the commentfields! Im currently doing a survey regarding the security aspects against piracy dowloading. Please help me by giving your thoughts in the survey. Klick the link below to begin. https://docs.google.com/a/student.lnu.se/forms/d/1IWbmdCD4wixdCiySjvhUSUNFfSMoTbGHbZ-y58wgp2o/viewform Your opinions are needed to get a correct view over this topic. Thank you!
quersty
Mar 20, 2013 4:10 PM CDT
"The movie and music businesses, software makers, and other manufacturers worry that the decision allows unauthorized sales to undercut their businesses." Why do we need their "authorization" to sell our own legally acquired property?
jigga.wut
Mar 20, 2013 2:58 AM CDT
whoop! I guess all my international engineering books are officially legal to own! :D