In an earlier entry in this series, I discussed an important issue in copyright law – whether the first sale doctrine applies to goods manufactured abroad. The Supreme Court was set to decide the issue in Costco v. Omega, but the Court split 4-4 and so left the matter unresolved.
Now the issue is back before the Supreme Court, in a case for which certiorari was granted this month: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons. Supap Kirtsaeng is a native of Thailand who moved to the United States to attend college. To subsidize his tuition, he began importing textbooks that John Wiley & Sons published in Asia for the Asian market (thus the designation “gray-market goods”). Because the Asian textbooks are somewhat different from the versions Wiley publishes in the United States – and are sold for considerably less – Wiley sued to stop Kirtsaeng’s enterprise. [...]
James Gibson, Copyright's Gray Market, Redux, The Media Institute (Apr. 24, 2012), available at http://www.mediainstitute.org/IPI/2012/042412.php.