The Supreme Court is going to rule this term on one of its biggest copyright cases in years: a case of a Thai national who got sued for copyright infringement after he sold his used textbooks on eBay.
Supap Kirtsaeng sold the textbooks made by John Wiley & Sons Inc.’s Asian unit to subsidise his education at Cornell University and the University of Southern California, Reuters has reported.
The case turns on whether it’s OK for people in the United States to sell copyrighted materials that were made abroad.
Generally, if you own a copyrighted product made in the U.S. you can do whatever you’d like with it under the so-called first-sale doctrine, according to a New York Times analysis of the John Wiley case.
When the Supreme Court hands down its decision in a few months, it will decide whether the first-sale doctrine applies to products made outside the U.S.
A group called The Owners’ Rights Initative has jumped into the debate to argue for the rights of people like Kirtsaeng who want to be able to sell stuff they already own.
That group, whose members include Etsy, eBay, Overstock, and other sell-your-own-stuff websites, recently released a video showing people’s opinions on the issue. Some of their reactions are pretty strong. And judging from the reaction in our office, most people are offended by the idea
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.