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Article image Supreme Court Decision - First Sales Doctrine

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Posted On Mon, Oct 15th 2012 Posted by : Staff

      Oral arguments are scheduled for October 29th in a case that will determine whether you can buy and resell goods on Ebay. At issue is a doctrine known as “first-sale.” For more than a century, the Supreme Court has recognized consumers rights to resell copyrighted products they own without the manufacturer’s permission.


      In 2008, Wiley, one of the world's largest textbook publishers, sued Supap Kirtsaeng, a graduate student at the University of Southern California for selling textbooks on Ebay to the detriment of the publisher. Supap Kirtsaeng was selling buying used textbooks overseas and then selling the goods online on the popular and robust secondary market at Ebay.


      The Supreme Court will hear arguments in Supap Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons that will have long last implications for people that buy items at garage sales and sell them online at sites like Ebay.  Furthermore, will the Supreme Court need to determine whether or not "U.S. made" means physically manufactured inside the territorial boundaries of the United States and not simply manufactured by a U.S. multinational corporation with part of it's operations in a foreign country? If then, cannot a clever corporation which once manufactured here and now makes their products in China, claim anything they want as to origination by simply saying those particular books where made in the U.S. by our U.S.-side operations? It is definitelya case worth watching to see how the Supremes  interpret the First sales Doctrine.


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