[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: About first sale doctrine

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: About first sale doctrine
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 11:50:57 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 Ciaran O'Riordan <> wrote:

> I can't follow all the mails on this list, but just to distill the
> discussion down: Is someone on this list claiming after Company X sells a
> source+binary copy of some GPL'd software to Buyer Y, that, in the USA,
> Buyer Y can then pass on or resell the binary (without the source) without
> being bound by the requirements of the GPL?
> Is that the essence of the argument?

Close--you were a little imprecise in the statement of the hypothetical.  
If we make it a little more specific:

1. We are talking about specific copies of the source and binary, such 
as a hard disk containing an installed binary, and a CD-ROM containing 
the corresponding machine readable source.  That's what company X sells 
to company Y.

2. Company Y does not copy or modify these specific copies.  Company Y 
just treats them as two physical objects they received from X--one hard 
disk and one CD-ROM.

3. Company Y sells the hard disk to a customer, and does not include the 

then yes, that's the essence of the argument.  Company Y is not 
obligated to provide source to the customer, as company Y has not done 
anything that requires permission from the copyright holder.

Also, we are not specifically talking about the US.  The only thing USA 
about it is the name we are using, "First Sale Doctrine".  In the EU it 
is called "Exhaustion of rights".

In the US, this is codified as 17 USC 109, and here is the gist of it:

   Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a 
   particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or 
   any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the 
   authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of 
   the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

(106(3) is the section of US copyright law where it says the copyright 
owner has the exclusive right to distribute or authorized the 
distribution of copies).

Most people in this group have probably seen first sale in action.  If 
you've ever loaned a book to a friend, you've participated in an 
exercise of first sale rights.  Without the first sale doctrine, you'd 
be violating the copyright owner's distribution rights!

--Tim Smith

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]