Thursday, May 06, 2010

Copyright Act's First Sale Doctrine: Question Presented To The US Supreme Court

Costco Wholesale Corp., v. Omega, S.A., Docket No. 08-1423

Under the Copyright Act's first-sale doctrine, 17 U.S.C. § l09(a), the owner of any particular copy "lawfully made under this title" may resell that good without the authority of the copyright holder. In Quality King Distribs., Inc. v. L'Anza Research Int'l, Inc., 523 U.S. 135, 138 (1998), this Court posed the question presented as "whether the 'first sale' doctrine endorsed in § 109(a) is applicable to imported copies." In the decision below, the Ninth Circuit held that Quality King (which answered that question affirmatively) is limited to its facts, which involved goods manufactured in the United States, sold abroad, and then re-imported.

The question presented here is:

Whether the Ninth Circuit correctly held that the first-sale doctrine does not apply to imported goods manufactured abroad.
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