The U.S. Supreme Court has supported consumer rights and libraries in the high-profile Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Inc. case by ruling that goods lawfully made overseas are protected by the first sale doctrine. This particular case focused on whether Americans and businesses had the right to sell, lend, or give away the things they own that were made overseas.

Graduate student Supap Kirtsaeng, who bought textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons in Thailand and sold them online in the United States, was sued by the book publisher, who claimed that the right of first sale did not apply because the books were manufactured overseas.

This interesting information was brought to our attention by District Dispatch in their article, “Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Libraries, Consumer Rights.” The American Library Association ascertains that library collections contain at least 200 million books published abroad and it would almost impossible to obtain permission to distribute each one. So you can imagine they were very pleased with the outcome of this particular case.

Melody K. Smith

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