To the Chagrin of Copyright Holders, Consumers Win the Right to Resell Imported Books (PDF)
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Just over a century ago, the Supreme Court recognized the "first sale doctrine," a basic exception to a copyright owner's distribution rights. Once a consumer buys a copyrighted product, the copyright holder--whether it be the author or a publisher--has exhausted all rights to control the product's downstream distribution. As long as the legitimate buyer does not make any copies, he is free to give away, lend, or discard his book as he pleases.
Sharona H. Sternberg is an associate at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP. She concentrates in patent litigation and trademark clearance, registration and enforcement. Prior to joining Sunstein, Sharona worked at an international firm in New York City as a litigation associate with a broad-based general commercial practice including significant intellectual property experience. Her clients have included well-known pharmaceutical companies, international e-commerce companies, and financial services companies.
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