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The U.S. Government Supports Textbook Publisher in First Sale Case

As previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case involving the territorial limits of the first sale doctrine under U.S. copyright law. Oral arguments in that case have been set for October 29.

 The U.S. solicitor general, in an amicus brief filed in support of the textbook publisher in this case, argues that U.S. copyright law as embodied in Title 17 of the U.S. Code does not apply extraterritorially. Thus, the brief states, a work protected by copyright that is manufactured outside the U.S. “is not made subject to Title 17 and therefore is not covered” by Title 17.

Several library groups have complained that a decision in favor of the publisher would make it difficult for libraries to function since they often do not know the source of the books and other materials they handle. The Association of American Publishers, which also filed a brief in support of the publisher, has said that publishers will not interfere with libraries’ historic practices and procedures if the publisher prevails in this case.

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About this Author

Susan Weller, Mintz Levin Law Firm, Washington DC, Intellectual Property Law Attorney

Susan currently manages the firm’s Trademark & Copyright Practice. Her extensive experience assisting clients with securing and protecting IP assets spans the globe. She has worked with companies in a vast array of industries, ranging from pharmaceuticals, medical devices, software, and electronics to entertainment, fashion, finance, and education. Susan is a prolific writer and lecturer, is recognized as a leader in the field of IP and is frequently invited to comment on issues of trademark and copyright law. Susan is highly regarded for her professional and ethical...