Supreme Court Justices Weigh Right to Resell Foreign-Made Books, Movies and Songs

October 30, 2012Article
The Hollywood Reporter

On Monday, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important copyright case involving the right to resell goods imported domestically.

The case, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., involves an immigrant from Thailand who was ordered to pay $600,000 for willfully infringing a textbook publisher's copyrights when he sold books first purchased overseas in the U.S. through eBay.

Some are lining up behind the appellant, Supap Kirtsaeng, and arguing that limiting the first-sale doctrine would cause manufacturing to fly overseas and imperil the reselling of many goods including films and music. Others, including the Hollywood studios, are supporting John Wiley on grounds that a reversal of a lower court's opinion could give rise to parallel imports and undermine territorial licensing agreements around the world.

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