On Monday, June 7, at 9 a.m., a federal appeals court in Seattle will hear oral argument in a case where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is fighting to uphold an eBay seller's "first sale" right to resell promotional CDs that he buys from secondhand stores.
Troy Augusto was sued by Universal Music Group (UMG) three years ago for 26 auction listings for promo CDs. At issue was whether the "promotional use only, not for sale" labels on those CDs trump Augusto's right to resell materials that he owns -- a right guaranteed by copyright law's "first sale" doctrine.
In 2008, the district court handed the victory to Mr. Augusto, but UMG has appealed that ruling. At Monday's hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Seattle, EFF cooperating counsel Joseph C. Gratz of the San Francisco law firm Durie Tangri LLP will argue the case, urging the court to uphold the "first sale" principle against "not for resale" labels on compact discs.
For more on UMG v. Augusto:
Also on the court's calendar on Monday are two other important first sale cases. In Vernor v. Autodesk, the panel will consider whether an eBay seller has the right to resell software purchased second-hand. In MDY v. Blizzard, at issue is whether World of Warcraft players own the software they purchase to play the game, and whether that entitles them to use the software in ways the creator does not approve of.