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Costco v. Omega (2011)

The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA)—comprised of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)—filed an amicus curiae brief (PDF) with the Supreme Court of the United States on July 8, 2010, in support of petitioner Costco Wholesale Corporation in Costco v. Omega.

Omega, a luxury watch manufacturer, claims Costco infringed its copyrights by importing authentic Omega watches from abroad rather than buying them from the US distributor at a higher price. LCA believes this case could diminish the legal provision that allows libraries to lend books.

The “first-sale doctrine” is the exception to the Copyright Act that allows any purchaser of a legal copy of a book or other copyrighted work to sell or lend that copy. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the first-sale doctrine applied only to copies manufactured in the United States.

In its friend of the court brief, LCA asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision and apply the first-sale doctrine to all copies manufactured with the lawful authorization of the holder of a work’s US copyright.

The Impact of the Supreme Court's Decision in Costco v. Omega on Libraries [PDF] 




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