Category First Sale / Exhaustion

Judge’s Ruling in Redbox Case Raises Concerns for Physical/Digital Content Bundles

A ruling from a California district judge last month impacts an area we explore here from time to time: when you purchase a digital content product, what rights do you have to that product, and are you buying it or licensing it? Judge Dean Pregerson’s recent ruling in Disney v. Redbox helps define the boundaries between sale and […]

Libraries: Be Careful What You Wish For

Last week we discussed the new “cost-per-circulation” (CPC) model for public libraries — in which they can make e-books available to patrons and pay the publisher per “loan” instead of paying fixed fees to “acquire” titles as if they were print books (the “pretend it’s print” or PIP model). HarperCollins has just become the first […]

What Does Ownership Mean in the Digital Age?

When you hit a “buy” button on Amazon, iTunes, or another digital content retail service, do you actually own what you’ve paid money for?  If you look at most retailers’ terms of service, the answer is no: you are licensing it on some terms that the retailer sets, which usually don’t amount to ownership.  In […]

Dutch Public Libraries and the “One Copy, One User” Rule

I took a little bit of heat from certain members of the library community who were bothered by my analysis last week of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) decision in the case of Vereniging Openbare Bibliotheken (Dutch Public Library Association) v. Stichting Leenrecht (Lending Rights Foundation, the Dutch collecting society for royalties from library lending) […]

The ECJ’s Inconclusive Ruling on Library E-Book Lending

We’ve been looking for a while at the question of whether First Sale rights apply to digital files.  If you get an e-book or music download, can you resell, lend, or give it away to someone else — as you can with physical products like print books or music CDs?  The library community has gotten excited […]

PTO Weighs In on Digital First Sale

A little-known fact about the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is that it advises the executive branch of government (the president and his administration) on copyright issues — just as the US Copyright Office advises Congress on copyright.  Although the Copyright Office’s efforts over the past couple of years to overhaul the country’s copyright […]

Public Knowledge Weighs In on Digital First Sale

Sherwin Siy looks at the history of first sale case law to find evidence that first sale should be extrapolated to the digital age.