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Supreme Court Weighs Text Copyright Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court last week heard arguments in a copyright case with potential implications for educational publishers, librarians, teachers, and students.

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc. involves a college student who sold overseas editions of popular college textbooks, which are priced much cheaper than their counterpart U.S. editions.

Supap Kirtsaeng, a Thai national, sold the foreign editions in the United States on eBay, with total sales of at least $900,000 in about a year, at a profit of some $100,000, court papers say.

Educational publishers such as John Wiley & Sons, based in Hoboken, N.J., contend that the federal Copyright Act of 1976 bars the importation and distribution of such foreign versions of their books. Wiley sued Mr. Kirtsaeng for copyright infringement and won $600,000 in damages.

The student appealed, but a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled 2-1 last year for Wiley.

A decision in the case is expected by next June.

Vol. 32, Issue 11, Page 4

Published in Print: November 7, 2012, as Supreme Court Weighs Text Copyright Case
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