Wednesday, 4th July 2012
Library Copyright Alliance: Kirtsaeng case threatens library lending
Source: American Library Association
From Press Release:
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)—comprised of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)—today filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of petitioner Supap Kirtsaeng in the case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons. On the eve of Independence Day, we ask the Court to be true to the values of our country’s founders—people like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who were both founders of libraries and great champions of library lending.
Wiley, a publisher of textbooks and other materials, claims Kirtsaeng infringed its copyrights by re-selling cheaper foreign editions of Wiley textbooks in the U.S. that his family lawfully purchased abroad. The LCA believes an adverse decision in this case could affect libraries’ right to lend books and other materials manufactured abroad.
The “first-sale doctrine” is the provision in the Copyright Act that allows any purchaser of a legal copy of a book or other copyrighted work to sell or lend that copy. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the first-sale doctrine applied only to copies manufactured in the United States. This odd interpretation of the law effectively strips libraries of their first sale right to lend their own copies of works made abroad.
In its friend of the court brief, the LCA asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Second Circuit and apply the first-sale doctrine to all copies manufactured with the lawful authorization of the holder of a work’s U.S. copyright....
The LCA brief explains that this case is critically important to libraries and their users because a significant portion of U.S. library collections consist of resources that were manufactured overseas. More than 200 million books in U.S. libraries have foreign publishers. Additionally, many books published by U.S. publishers were actually printed in other countries, and often these books do not indicate where they were printed. If a book does not specify that it was printed in the United States, a library would not know whether it could lend it without being exposed to a copyright lawsuit.
+ Friend of the court brief (PDF; 192 KB)
+ Press release
By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
Adrian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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