First sale doctrine under copyright law found to apply to domestically manufactured goods only


The decision in Wiley and Sons Inc. v. Kirtsaeng relates to the “first sale” doctrine under copyright law, which permits the owner of a lawfully purchased copyrighted work to resell it without limitations imposed by the copyright holder.  In this case, foreign editions of textbooks were being offered for sale on eBay.

The Court concluded copyrighted goods manufactured outside of the United States are not subject to the first sale doctrine: the first sale doctrine “is best interpreted as applying only to works manufactured domestically.”


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