Thursday, May 8, 2008

The First Sale Doctrine and the buyer's rights in the copyrighted good

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, undercutting another absurd example of copyright overclaiming:
But throwing away that CD is copyright infringement?

According to UMG Recordings, that's true insofar as the label's promotional CDs are concerned: those thousands of unaccounted for discs the label mails out each year to reviewers, radio stations and others.


The Electronic Frontier Foundation is defending the accused pirate.

"According to the first sale doctrine, once a copyright owner has parted with ownership of a CD, book, or DVD, whether by sale, gift, or other disposition, they may not control further dispositions of that particular copy (including throwing it away)," EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann wrote on his blog. "It's thanks to the first sale doctrine that libraries can lend books, video rental stores can rent DVDs, and you can give a CD to a friend for their birthday. It's also the reason you can throw away any CD that you own."

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