The Future of the First Sale Doctrine

Libraries, used book stores, and businesses like Netflix are made possible by the ‘first sale doctrine’ in copyright law, which permits the lending and renting of physical media (like books and DVDs) after purchase.  In the digital world, the status of the first sale doctrine is unclear: sale is increasingly supplanted by licensing, which generally restricts rights of lending or resale.    In May 2013, The American Assembly partnered with the Samuelson Clinic at UC Berkeley Law on a one-day workshop to discuss the future of first sale and the institutions that depend on it--bringing together some 35 librarians, publishers, and legal scholars.

The American Assembly
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