The Supreme Court ruled that “first sale doctrine” protects book buyers reselling books that they purchased overseas.
Would it also apply to websites like ReDigi that resell MP3 files? Capitol Records sued ReDigi to stop the resale of used MP3s, but the Supreme Court ruling could affect the case–possibly opening the door for digital book sales as well. NPR had more from UC Berkeley professor Jason Schultz:
Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling only covers physical copies of copyrighted works, and its implications for digital resale are unclear. But Schultz says the ruling could sway the judge in the ReDigi case. “The decision says first sale is really important and has always been part of law. I think it will push him to find a way for ReDigi to work, to find a way forward for them that copyright allows,” Schultz said.
Bob buys an e-book from Amazon for $10. After reading, he sells it to a new person for $8. After a couple more transactions the used e-book is going for $1. But the reading experience is as pristine and clean as the first one. In this world, you could buy any e-book for $1 or less if you’re willing to wait long enough. For best sellers, you wouldn’t have to wait long at all.