Big US Supreme Court win for Thai who bought textbooks in Thailand and resold them in the US

Supreme Court sides with book reseller in copyright ruling – LA Times, march 19, 2013
…The 6-3 decision Tuesday came in the case of Supap Kirtsaeng, a USC graduate student from Thailand who figured he could earn money for his education by buying low-cost textbooks in his native country and reselling them in the United States.
John Wiley & Sons, a textbook publisher, sued him over copyright infringement and won $600,000 in damages from a New York jury. Kirtsaeng was ordered to turn over his golf clubs, computer and printer as partial payment…

More on the crazy US copyright law that ensnared a Thai student: Supreme Court to Wiley publishers: your insane theory of copyright is wrong – BoingtBoing, March 19, 2013
…Practically everything owned by Americans is made outside of the USA and almost all of it embodies some kind of copyright. Under Wiley’s theory, you would have no first-sale rights to any of that stuff — you couldn’t sell it, you couldn’t even give it away. What’s more, the other “exceptions and limitations” to copyright would also not apply, meaning that it would be illegal to photograph anything made outside of the USA (no di minimum exemption) or to transform it in any way (no fair use, either)…

Full decision: Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons
…Third, Wiley and the dissent claim that a nongeographical interpretation will make it difficult, perhaps impossible, for publishers (and other copyright holders) to divide foreign and domestic markets. We concede that is so. A publisher may find it more difficult to charge different prices for the same book in different geographic markets. But we do not see how these facts help Wiley, for we can find no basic principle of copyright law that suggests that publishers are especially entitled to such rights…

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