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8 Comments on "“First-Sale” Resellers Rejoice"

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Eli Rothblatt

Great website. I’m a fan of the Law Firm of Dayrel Sewell!


I certainly see both sides of the argument, but ultimately I believe the correct decision was reached with respect to a person’s right to resell something legally acquired.

Great website!


Truly a fascinating read and blog. How interesting that politics and foreign trade have such an impact even into a simple matter of textbooks and how influential this can be in our decisions. While I might not agree, I certainly can appreciate a spirit of an entrepreneur which Kirtsaeng displays which is oftentimes how some of the best ideas are formed, much like the start of The Law Firm of Dayrel Sewell! my best wishes and hopes for all the success you deserve! Congratulations!

The U.S. Supreme Court reached the right decision in Kirtsaeng. The Court’s statutory interpretation of U.S.C. § 109(a) is correct. There is nothing in § 109(a) that mentions or even implies that the first-sale doctrine is geographical. An opposite interpretation of §109 (a) would be an outdated and archaic one, due to the modern—foreign trade climate. Copyrighted works should be easily transferred through commerce in today’s foreign trade. Will the market for reselling significantly change (i.e., supply and demand economics)? What effect will the Kirtsaeng decision have on domestic and international pricing of copyrighted works? The Kirtsaeng decision may have… Read more »
Under 17 U.S.C. § 106, a copyright owner has six exclusive rights: the right to reproduce the work, the right to create derivative works, the right to publicly distribute copies of the work, the right to publicly display the work, the right to perform the work, and the right to perform the work publicly by means of digital audio transmission in the case of sound recordings. The first sale doctrine, codified under 17 U.S.C. § 109(a), is a limit on the copyright holder’s right to restrict the re-selling of his or her work that was lawfully obtained. Under §109(a), once… Read more »
Copyright law provides an exclusive right to copyright owners to the distribution of the copyrighted work. However, the exclusive right of distribution is subject to the first sale doctrine. The first sale doctrine is the statutory restriction that courts apply regarding the exclusive rights of the copyright owner, which provides that the owner of the particular copy which is lawfully acquired, has the right to sell or dispose of the possession of that copy. However, subject to the first sale doctrine, the distribution right ends once the owner sells that particular copy. The first sale doctrine gives the right to… Read more »
Congress’s ability to grant copyright protections stems from the U.S. Constitution which states that Congress has the power to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful arts, by securing for limited time to authors and inventor’s exclusive rights to their respective writings and discoveries.” U.S Const. Art. I §8, cl 8. The theory behind an author’s right to a copyright in the United States is a purely utilitarian one. Allowing authors to be granted a copyright will provide a marketable right for the creators and therefore incentivize them to keep producing new works, this incentive is often considered as… Read more »
At the turn of the New Year in 2017, it is rather appropriate to revisit what has become a seminal case in copyright law. Perhaps not foreseeable when decided, both Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,133 S. Ct. 1351 (2013) (“Kirtsaeng I”) and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1979 (2016) (“Kirtsaeng II”) are now read in the copyright classes of virtually every law school in the United States. The overall case study is worth revisiting now especially because we welcome into the fold John Wiley & Sons, Inc. v. Kirtsaeng, No. 08-cv-7834 (DLC), 2016… Read more »