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Update on Kirtsaeng v. Wiley

   November 7th, 2012 Brian Herzog

You've Been Owned: Stand Up For Digital First SaleEven though the election is over*, I wanted to keep things within the world of Government by providing an update on the Kirtsaeng v. Wiley Supreme Court case.

Oral arguments were heard last week, and things actually sound promising based on SCOTUSblog's recap of the arguments. Justice Breyer focused on the "parade of horribles" that could be the unintended consequences of Wiley's position - which Wiley's lawyer attempted to dismiss as not part of this case - to which Justice Kennedy responded

You’re aware of the fact that if we write an opinion with the . . . rule that you propose, that we should, as a matter of common sense, ask about the consequences of that rule.

And this is the entire issue for me - the state of the first sale doctrine after this decision. LISNews had a good, but frightening, characterization:

Notably, [Wiley's lawyer] didn't back away from the more extreme consequences of his client's win at the 2nd Circuit. If Wiley wins, he said, institutions like museums and libraries might need to get licenses from copyright owners for their activities.

More reading on this:

A ruling on the case is expected by June.

And a slight tangent: while I was looking for information on this case online, I came across Citizens for Ownership Rights - interesting.


*The 2016 campaign season starts today!

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