Update: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons

Ever since October, I’ve lived in fear of government agents repelling through my office window in search of grey-market textbooks. While I can joke, former USC mathematics graduate student Supap Kirtsaeng lived the past few years fearing he owed $600,000 in damages following a copyright dispute. In 2008, publisher John Wiley and Sons successfully sued him for importing and reselling international editions of textbooks from his native Thailand. Tonight, Mr. Kirtsaeng sleeps having those damages erased by the highest court in the land. From Ars Technica:

Today’s decision vindicates the “first sale” doctrine, which allows the owner of a particular copy of a work to do whatever she wants with it after purchasing it. It overrides first sale losses in both the 9th and 2nd Circuits and makes it clear that digital commerce can flourish in the Internet era, even when it crosses borders.

The full opinion is available from the Supreme Court while SCOTUSblog has an overview of the case as well as an analysis of the opinion.

About Derek Smith

Former weather dude and scientific software developer. In the upcoming 2015-16 year I will complete my PhD at UCSB in nonlinear dispersive equations. I enjoy spending time with my two young daughters and running.
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