Sunday, December 22, 2013
Digital Firsts; Library Journal, 12/18/13
Matt Ennis, Library Journal; Digital Firsts: "The U.S Department of Commerce (DoC) has been collecting public comment on the topic of the first sale doctrine and digital files in recent weeks; the agency was scheduled to meet about the issue on December 12 in Washington, DC. First sale doctrine is a set of exemptions to U.S. copyright law that permit consumers to resell used books or DVDs and libraries to loan books without seeking permission from publishers. Yet for reasons examined in more detail below, first sale exemptions have not translated well for digital content. The DoC’s call for public comment could mark the beginning of a campaign to reassess what copyright and first sale mean in the modern digital era, notes one expert. While the case did not directly address digital content, the Supreme Court’s Kirtsaeng v. Wiley decision in March “has reawakened interest, on the content owners’ side, to revise first sale,” says Mary Minow, Follett Chair of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dominican University, and executive editor of Stanford University’s Copyright and Fair Use website. “Perhaps that’s even part of the impetus behind this call for public comment. The energy is there to revise copyright law in its entirety, including first sale. If libraries aren’t speaking up about what it is that we need, we’re just going to be bulldozed over.”"