On May 5, a number of law professors around the country received an email from publisher Wolters Kluwer regarding the 11 books in the Aspen Casebook series they assign to their students. The email informed the educators that the casebook, which combines lessons about the legal system with documents from cases in which those principles were applied or set, would now be sold as a physical copy bundled with an ebook edition. There was just one catch: once the course was over, students would be required to ship their physical copies back to the publisher, rather than hanging onto them for reference or reselling them on the used book market.
The U.S Department of Commerce (DoC) has been collecting public comment on the topic of the first sale doctrine and digital files in recent weeks; the agency was scheduled to meet about the issue on December 12 in Washington, DC. First sale doctrine is a set of exemptions to U.S. copyright law that permit consumers to resell used books or DVDs and libraries to loan books without seeking permission from publishers. Yet for reasons examined in more detail below, first sale exemptions have not translated well for digital content. The DoC’s call for public comment could mark the beginning of a campaign to reassess what copyright and first sale mean in the modern digital era, notes one expert.
“When is a Sale Not a Sale? Selling vs. Licensing Digital Content” the International Digital Publishing Forum’s Digital Book 2013 conference asked. The panel, which took place on May 30 during the co-located BookExpo America last week in New York, featured Bill Rosenblatt, founder of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies, who gave a point-by-point overview of the current state of digital copyright law.
The American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) today teamed up with 17 other associations, retailers, and charities to launch a new coalition called the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI). ORI is an “informal alliance of stakeholders” that will defend the first sale doctrine, which allows libraries to lend books and other materials, as well as individual owners to resell them.
Ask a librarian how many books she has in her collection, and you will usually get a pretty accurate answer. But ask where those books were printed, and you will get a confused look. Notice I said printed, not published. Our catalog records contain place of publication, but that is not the same as place […]
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) today filed a friend of the court brief in the case of John Wiley & Sons v. Supap Kirtsaeng, which raises the issue of whether the first sale doctrine applies to books printed overseas and imported into the U.S. The LCA argues that, if the Supreme Court were to confirm that the first sale doctrine does not apply to books printed overseas, it would prevent libraries from lending major parts of their collections.
The Supreme Court agreed on April 16 to hear a case on whether an overseas purchaser of a copyrighted work may resell it in the U.S. without the copyright holder’s permission. The petitioner is Supap Kirtsaeng, who resold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons that were purchased overseas to U.S.-based students without the publisher’s […]