There was a big win for copyright and the concept of the first sale doctrine today, as a court has ruled that record labels cannot stop the sale of a promo CD
just because it's stamped with a message that says "not for resale." We had discussed
this case last summer, when it was first filed. Universal Music was trying to prevent a guy selling promo CDs on eBay. He had bought them at various music stores. Universal claimed that because the CDs were stamped with that "not for resale" message, they really retained ownership of those CDs and no one could sell them. This would go against the very concept of the first sale doctrine, and, thankfully the court agreed, trashing Universal's weak claim
that just by writing a note on any piece of content, it could ignore copyright law and retain ownership of the good forever.
This is a big victory, as a loss would mean that content providers could basically create their own copyright rules for any content they sold, potentially limiting it in much greater ways than copyright already does. This ruling, coming right after the Supreme Court's ruling
in the Quanta case, about a similar issue involving patents, hopefully will block companies from trying to pretend they get to retain total control over goods even after they're sold.