High court throws wrench into copyright holder worldwide pricing differentials

KWIKA partner Jonathan Steinsapir was quoted by Variety in Ted Johnson’s article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday that the “first-sale” doctrine applies to foreign-made works.  What this means is that a consumer who makes a legal purchase of, say, a DVD in a lower-priced market outside the U.S is not prohibited from reselling it here at higher American prices.

As you might imagine, studios and record producers are not happy.  Jonathan noted that the ruling creates a “potential for disruption” in Hollywood because of pricing differences of DVDs and CDs between foreign and domestic markets, which results in copyright holders competing against themselves.  In addition, he believes there will be efforts to revise copyright law to protect against unintended consequences of the decision.

Read the Full Article.  Jonathan’s quotes are in the third-to-last and second-to-last paragraphs.