You can sell your used records, books, and other copies of creative works without needing permission from the copyright owner of those works. This is the “first sale” doctrine (17 U.S.C. §109), and has been the law of the land for over a century. In the Internet age, songs and other works are bought and distributed digitally, and may never exist in a traditional physical form like a CD or cassette tape. Does the first sale doctrine still exist for digital works? Capitol Records, LLC v. ReDigi Inc., 934 F. Supp. 2d 640 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) takes a look at the issue, and explores the cutting edge of the first sale doctrine.
The point of a 3D scan of an object (like a shoe or a banana) is to slavishly recreate that object in a new medium. What if there is a conflict over whether one scan of an object infringes another scan of that same object? There are very few decisions about 3D scanning, so we need to look at decisions in other media for guidance. Franklin Mint Corp. v. Nat’l Wildlife Art Exch., 575 F.2d 62 (3d Cir. 1978) addresses whether one naturalistic painting of a pair of cardinals in nature infringes another, and gives us insight into 3D scanning and copyright law.
Copyright decisions issued by the Supreme Court over the last two decades have followed a trend: Justice Ginsburg tends to write in favor of the authors and intellectual property owners, and Justice Breyer tends to write in favor of the intellectual property repurposes and distributors. What does this mean for the impending ABC v Aereo decision about the redistribution of broadcast television programs?