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First off today, Brent Kendall at The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Supap Kirtsaeng, a now-former student who was sued by publisher John Wiley & Sons for copyright infringement after he resold foreign textbooks that he bought and had shipped to the U.S.
The case was closely watched by entertainment and technology enthusaists alike as it dealt with the issue of first sale. Normally, when you purchase a physical good, including a copyrighted one, you have the right to resell that work but, also under the law, copyright holders can block the importation of copyrighted works into the country, meaning that such resale could, theoretically, be illegal if it crossed national boundaries.
However, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled in favor of Kirtsaeng, reversing two lower court rulings and making it clear that that first sale applies even if the product was produced abroad.
Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that, in the midst of the excitement about the ending of the Jammie Thomas-Rasset case and the Wiley case, another denied petition by the Supreme Court has gone largely unnoticed.
The case involves the TV streaming service ivi, which was sued by broadcasters for copyright infringement as it rebroadcast TV signals over the air without permission. However, ivi claimed that it was a cable service provider under the law and needed only pay a small statutory fee.
Two lower courts disagreed and an injunction against the service was both issued and then upheld. Later, ivi appealed to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, allowing the injunction to stand. At this time, ivi is offline.
Finally today, Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica reports that two researchers working for the European Commission have finished a study that concludes piracy does not significantly harm digital music revenues and it should not be a major focus for copyright holders.
The study looked at some 16,000 Internet users in five countries by looking at data from Nielsen NetView to examine behaviors of Internet users in the five largest economies in the EU and concluded that people visited piracy-oriented websites commonly bought more legitimate content. It also concluded that free, legal alternatives did not cannibalize music sales.
The study only looked at music and only at digital music sales. Sales of physical goods were not calculated. The major copyright holder organizations did not respond but a similar study two weeks ago found that Internet movie piracy does displace digital sales of films.
That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.
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