LCA Releases First Sale Fast Facts for Libraries

Have you heard of the “first sale doctrine?” You’ve likely heard (if you’re a District Dispatch subscriber) about the Supreme Court case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, and that it might affect library lending. However, the details of the case about a student lawfully importing textbooks into the U.S.  and then selling them on eBay are seemingly complex and technical. The Library Copyright Alliance has published a one-page summary, “First Sale Fast Facts for Libraries,” that provides you key information to understand the first sale doctrine and what is at stake in the Kirtsaeng case.

Additional information on the case is available at ALA’s First Sale Doctrine and Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Also, the ALA is a founding member of the Owners’ Rights Initiative, a diverse coalition of businesses, associations and organizations that have joined together to protect first sale rights in the United States.

About Corey Williams

Corey Williams is a former member of the Washington Office government relations team.


  1. I imagine it has to do with tariffs? As long as your paying taxes on imports, there shouldn’t be any problems right?

  2. Hi Samantha:

    No the problem is not tariffs. Even if you purchased a copy made oversees and paid all taxes charged, once you brought that book back to the US, you would not be able to re-sell it or loan it.
    Sounds ridiculous but is a possibility depending on how the Court rules.
    -Carrie Russell

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