Copyright owners win case concerning first-sale doctrine

2nd Circuit says it’s illegal to import and sell foreign works without permission

A recent appeals court ruling gives copyright owners broader rights over their products manufactured outside the U.S.

On Monday, the 2nd Circuit decided 2-1 in John Wiley & Sons Inc. v. Supap Kirtsaeng d/b/a Bluechristine99 that it is illegal for anyone to import and sell foreign-made copyright works without the copyright owner’s consent.

The case is significant because it strays from the Copyright Act’s first-sale doctrine, which allows owners of legal copies of products to sell, loan or give away their copies of that product without the copyright owner’s permission. The 2nd Circuit said the first-sale doctrine only applies to products that are manufactured in the U.S.

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