Business

Library Associations Join Copyright Coalition

Two major library groups and a number of retailers have joined to protect the first-sale doctrine.

What do libraries have in common with eBay? Redbox? Chegg?

They all have business models that focus on the sharing of content in the secondary market. None of them would exist without the first-sale doctrine, which regulates the distribution chain of copyrighted material.

Rather than waiting for the Supreme Court decision and then spending months and months trying to develop a legislative strategy, we are doing that now.

They are also joining forces to protect this right.

The American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries are two of the 19 associations, retailers, and other organizations joining the Owners’ Rights Initiative (ORI), which has the expressed goal of protecting the first-sale doctrine.

“We believe in the fundamental premise that if you bought it, you own it, and should have the right to sell, lend, or give away your personal property,” the collective says on its site.

Other associations taking part in the endeavor include the American Free Trade Association, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the United Network Equipment Dealers Association, the Association of Service and Computer Dealers International, and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear the case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, which concerns the nature of the Copyright Act on goods imported into the United States. But rather than wait for the decision to become final, the group is working proactively to fight off any potential blowback.

“ORI is planning to spend an extensive amount of time educating Congress,” the ORI’s executive director, Andrew Shore, said in a recent media call with Library Journal. “The likelihood is that it will end up in Congress’ lap. Rather than waiting for the Supreme Court decision and then spending months and months trying to develop a legislative strategy, we are doing that now.”

Will the Owners’ Rights Initiative help libraries and companies focused on the secondary market protect their lending rights? How would you handle this? Let us know in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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