"The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries"

The Library Copyright Alliance has released "The Impact of the Supreme Court's Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries."

Here's an excerpt:

On December 13, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Costco v. Omega in a manner that eliminated none of the uncertainty caused by the lower court's ruling in that case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had ruled that the copyright law's "first sale doctrine" did not apply to copies manufactured abroad. This ruling cast doubt on a library's ability to circulate books and other materials manufactured outside of the United States. In a 4 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's judgment "by an equally divided Court." This means that the Ninth Circuit's ruling stands within the Ninth Circuit, but is not a binding precedent on courts in the rest of the country. Libraries must now decide whether to change their purchasing and lending practices in light of the Supreme Court's decision. This memorandum suggests that a combination of defenses, including section 602(a)(3)(C) of the Copyright Act, the Ninth Circuit's Drug Emporium exception, implied license, and fair use, allow libraries throughout the country to continue their existing purchasing and circulation practices with a fair degree of confidence that they will not infringe copyright by doing so.

| Digital Scholarship | Digital Scholarship Publications Overview |