First Sale Doctrine: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb
In Mid-March, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., ruling that a consumer’s rights to resell a purchased copyrighted work under the “First Sale Doctrine” preempts an author’s right to control the importation of his works. This decision was met with cheer from those seeking weaker copyright protection and the freer movement of content, including librarians. It didn’t take long, however, for the judiciary to limit the First Sale Doctrine along a new dimension.
Scaling back the First Sale Doctrine, Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York handed down a summary judgment ruling determining that ReDigi, a service that facilitates the sale of previously-purchased digital music, could not escape liability via the First Sale Doctrine. Notwithstanding the results of this case, Apple and Amazon appear to be exploring mechanisms for the licensed resale of digital music.
A Bit More on Digital Copyright
Speaking of the limitations of digital copyright, Slate posted an indictment of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act from a researcher in digital security in consumer products. He notes the breadth of the law’s definition of “circumvention” of security measures and the narrowness of its exception for research.
Proponents of broader exceptions under the DMCA did see one victory this week, however, as the Second Circuit affirmed the denial of an injunction against Aereo, a company which uses arrays of antennae to retransmit over-the-air television content over the internet to its subscribers. Much to the chagrin of television broadcasters, the court found that Aereo’s service was legally indistinguishable from the retransmission practice that was found protected in Cartoon Network, LP v. CSC Holdings, Inc.
Motion in Mobile: MetroPCS, Mohave Mergers and More
The FCC has approved T-Mobile’s plan to acquire discount carrier, MetroPCS, and the plan has been met with some favorable reviews from the perspective of the public interest, though investor advisory firms have panned the terms of the offer.
Verizon announced plans for 3G and 4G LTE buildout upon completion of its acquisition of the Arizona mobile carrier, Mohave.
AT&T has sought to stave off the increasing belief that mobile carriers are shifting towards becoming mere “dumb pipes.” AT&T’s development of innovative services was the subject of an executive’s talk at Venture Beat’s Mobile Summit this week.