US Supreme Court tries again on copyright importation problem

A very interesting case will be going before the Supreme Court concerning the importation and sale of copyrighted Gray-Market media, one which I feel may have serious ramifications for telecommunications gray-market hardware sales.

There is not much difference between the copyright of a book and that of software.  While it may be difficult to stop the sale of gray-market telephones and telephone system equipment in the United States, if the court rules in favor of the plaintiff, it may open the door to manufacturers, distributors and dealers filing lawsuits against gray-market dealers because of the software included in the telephones and other electronic equipment.

Read the brief here:

The Court’s November calendar features probably the most important copyright case since its 2003 decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft. Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. presents one of the fundamental questions for the globalized media world: whether a U.S. copyright holder can prevent the importation of “gray-market” products manufactured for overseas markets. When the Court tried to address this question two Terms ago – in Costco Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, S.A. – the Court was equally divided (with Justice Kagan recused) and left the Ninth Circuit’s decision (allowing the copyright holder to bar importation of those goods) undisturbed. The Court returns to the question in this case, in which all nine of the Justices apparently will participate…


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