First Sale Doctrine Affirmed

March 19, 2013

Last fall we wrote about the “first sale” doctrine in copyright, and the challenge faced in the Supreme Court in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. as it applies to goods of foreign manufacture that are purchased abroad and then re-sold in the United States.  Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion: the “first sale” doctrine applies to copies of a copyrighted work lawfully made abroad.

You can find the decision on Westlaw at 2013 WL 1104736.  Justice Breyer delivered the opinion of the Court. Justice Kagan filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Alito joined. Justice Ginsburg filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Kennedy joined and Justice Scalia joined in part.