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Impressions from Today’s Oral Argument in Kirtsaeng

October 29, 2012 First Sale , Kirtsaeng

I was able to attend oral arguments this morning at the Supreme Court, which included Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. For some background on the case, see the resources linked at this blog post.

There were three separate theories of section 109’s interpretation in the Court today: Kirtsaeng’s, made by Josh Rosenkranz; Wiley’s, made by Ted Olson, and the U.S. Government’s made by Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart. Kirtsaeng’s position is that “lawfully made under this title” means “made lawfully,” and that to judge what “lawfully” means, we look to the standards of title 17.

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First Sale at the Supreme Court: Kirtsaeng

First Sale , Kirtsaeng

Today, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., a case that could decide whether or not you fully own your own books, CDs, DVDs, and all your other things that contain copyrighted works—particularly if they were made outside the US.

Recordings of the oral arguments should be posted later in the week. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some background on the case, see Jodie’s post here, or read on below.

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Public Knowledge Urges Supreme Court to Preserve First Sale

July 9, 2012 First Sale , Kirtsaeng

Today, Public Knowledge filed a public interest amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Inc., a dispute that has the potential to drastically alter users’ property rights in their own copies of books, movies, music, software—in fact, any copyrighted material. The case began with a Thai student studying in the United States who realized that international editions of textbooks cost significantly less than the U.S. editions. He then imported international editions and resold them. Wiley & Sons sued under the theory that these sales violated their exclusive distribution rights.

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Public Knowledge Joins Petition for Ownership Rights

June 22, 2012 First Sale , Kirtsaeng , Limitations & Exceptions

Today, a group of public interest organizations, including Public Knowledge, launched a petition asking the Obama administration to affirm the concept of ownership rights—the idea that consumers should actually fully own the things that they buy.

This may seem like a fairly obvious concept not in need of affirming, but the fact of the matter is that increasingly bizarre interpretations of copyright law threaten to make it illegal for you to sell, lend, or give away many of the things you own.

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Publishers, Distributors Must Learn to Let Go

March 29, 2012 First Sale , Kirtsaeng

It looks like we’ll soon know whether the Supreme Court will help referee an increasingly common fight between publishers (and other distributors and manufacturers) and consumers who sell or give away their used copies of books, music, games, and basically anything that contains a copyrighted work. Publishers and manufacturers want to be able to control—or stop—sales of used goods, while consumers want to be able to dispose of their own physical property however they see fit. What the Court chooses to do could have enormous ramifications for consumers and businesses across the country that sell or lend copies of copyrighted goods, from books to toys to automobiles.

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