No First Sale Doctrine Of Works of Authorship Made Abroad


Like other manufacturers who price differentially in different markets, publisher John Wiley &Sons designated certain editions of its texts for sale only outside the U.S. and printed them overseas. Friends and family members of Kirtsaeng bought copies in Thailand and shipped them to him in the United States, where he sold them on eBay. Wiley brought an action claiming that Kirtsaeng violated § 602(a)(1), which provides: “Importation into the United States, without the authority of the owner of copyright..., of copies... of a work that have been acquired outside the United States is an infringement of the exclusive right to distribute copies [of the work].”

Kirtsaeng asserted that the first sale doctrine shielded him from liability.

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