Supreme Court Decides Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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The U.S. Supreme Court has just issued its decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.1, and its holding could have consequences on international sales and trafficking of copyrighted goods. In short, the Supreme Court held that the “first sale” doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

The outcome could cause copyright holders and retailers of copyrighted works to rethink their global distribution pricing strategies and could very well lead to higher prices charged on sales of copyrighted works outside of the United States. Within the United States, fans of second-hand stores, such as used book stores, are breathing a collective sigh of relief following the decision, knowing that their sales of used imported goods need not involve obtaining approval from the original copyright holder.

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