Archives: First Sale

Written by Susan Neuberger Weller

Despite Hurricane Sandy, the US Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday, October 29, 2012 on whether the “first-sale doctrine” of US copyright law applies to goods made outside the US. The substance of the case, as we reported to you previously, is the specific language in the first-zero rule which applies to goods “lawfully made under this title,” referring to the caps US Copyright Act.

During oral arguments, several of the justices indicated that the statutory language could be interpreted several ways, leaving the possibility that policy considerations might motivate the final decision in the case.

 We will report back as soon as the Court’s decision issues, which is not expected for many months.

Written by Susan Neuberger Weller

As previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the territorial limits of the first sale doctrine under U.S. copyright law. Oral arguments in that case have been set for October 29.

 The U.S. solicitor general, in an amicus brief filed in support of the textbook publisher in this case, argues that U.S. copyright law as embodied in Title 17 of the U.S. Code does not apply extraterritorially. Thus, the brief states, a work protected by copyright that is manufactured outside the U.S. “is not made subject to Title 17 and therefore is not covered” by Title 17. Continue Reading The U.S. Government Supports Textbook Publisher in First Sale Case

Written by Susan Neuberger Weller

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted cert in order to decide an issue of great importance to all businesses involved in manufacturing and distributing products throughout the world, particularly those  involved in retailing and importation, namely, whether foreign made works intended for sale outside the U.S., in which the copyright is owned by a U.S. entity, may be purchased outside the U.S., imported into the U.S., and then resold or otherwise disposed of  in the U.S. without the copyright owner’s authorization.  Continue Reading The U.S. Supreme Court Grants Cert to Decide Scope of First Sale Doctrine